Vice President Jejomar Binay remains focused on his work, assisting families of slain soldiers, calamity victims and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in distress despite continuing politically-motivated attacks by senators, according to his spokesman on political concerns.
At the same time, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla on Tuesday said the Senate should explain why the representative of the Philippine Contractors Association (PCA) present during Monday’s inspection of Makati City Hall Building 2 was not asked to give his comment on the building that “would contradict the biased assessments of so-called experts brought in by Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th.”
“[We have a process for validating expenditures]. Even the Philippine Construction Association representative said the correct process is to compare the as-built plans. What’s more, the issue is not whether the materials used were standard, but whether they were overpriced. This is something that they still have not proven,” he added, referring to Binay’s critics.
While Trillanes and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd were inspecting Building 2, Remulla said the Vice President led the inauguration of a housing community for residents of Cagayan de Oro City (Misamis Oriental) affected by Typhoon Sendong two years ago.
Last Sunday, Binay awarded cash benefits to 20 family-beneficiaries of soldiers killed in combat in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City.
As co-chairman of the Alay Sa Kawal Foundation, he extended P30,000 financial assistance to the families of soldiers mostly belonging to the Philippine Army 4th Infantry Division based in the camp.
Binay is expected to meet today an OFW who was allegedly raped in the Middle East to find out what assistance the government can provide, Remulla said.
He described as “hula-hula experts” or experts in guesswork the resource persons who made their assessment after a cursory inspection of the building.
“Without even seeing the as-built plans, blueprints, bill of materials or mechanical and electrical plans, these so-called experts made a conclusion [that]can only be described as guesswork or hula-hula,” Remulla said.
“This is no different from the previous witnesses who admitted their claim of overpriced birthday cakes and kickbacks for the Vice President was only a guess and mere speculation,” he said, referring to lawyer Renato Bondal and former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.
“They [so-called experts] say the materials and construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2 were standard and ordinary. But the representative from the PCA said the air conditioning system in the lobby, for one, is not ordinary,” Remulla added.
He said in an interview with reporters, Lito Madrasto, the executive director of PCA, said the cassette type air-conditioners used in the upper floors of Building 2 were more expensive than standard floor standing or wall type air-conditioners.
According to Madrasto, at the time construction of Building 2 was started, prices of building materials were skyrocketing.
“Steel prices went up. Cement prices went up. Everything was going up,” he said, adding that to render a fair assessment, they would need to review the as-built plans.
“Why was the PCA representative not called by the committee? Senator Trillanes talked to him after the [inspection]and afterwards, he was nowhere in sight. We hope Trillanes did not intimidate the man, which he seems to be fond of doing,” Remulla said.
“It will not be the word of hula-hula experts or Senator Trillanes but the courts that will determine overpricing and criminal liability,” he added.