Monday, September 1, 2014
No Concrete Proof of Overpricing Said By Binay
As far as the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay is concerned, no concrete proof that the Makati City Hall Building 2 is overpriced has been produced during hearings conducted by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesperson for political affairs, said what the witnesses presented in the Senate inquiry to prove that Building 2 was overpriced “turned out to be duds.”
“For one, the data they cited from the National Statistics Office were based on the building permit applications and not the actual construction cost,” said Remulla in a statement released by the Office of the Vice President.
“Even the expert they invited gave a market appraisal value of a hypothetical building. How do you compare a hypothetical, non-existent building to one that has already been built? And in the first place, is that even a fair comparison?” Remulla said.
He said the law explicitly states that in order to prove overpricing, a comparison of similar items has to be made, which is done through an actual canvass of the materials and equipment used in the construction of the building.
“Was any canvass done? No,” he said.
Remulla also belittled the handbook presented by Sen. Alan Cayetano, saying assumptions made in the handbook do not constitute a comparison of similar items when applied to Building 2.
“The handbook states that ‘[a]ll buildings are assumed to have no basement (except otherwise stated) and are built on flat ground, with normal soil conditions, and minimal external work.’ The mere fact that Building 2 was built on soft soil already means the handbook cannot be used for comparison,” he said.
Remulla said he was wondering why Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV was trying to block the testimony of Hilmarc’s Construction, the building’s contractor.
“I thought they wanted to get to the bottom of the truth? Why then did Senator Trillanes threaten to include the contractor in the plunder charge? To prevent him from confirming that there was no overprice? Or was it to prevent the contractor from saying they also contracted projects of their allies from Taguig?” he said.
“If Senator Trillanes wants to get to the truth, then he must allow all resource persons to speak freely and not threaten or bully them just because what they say is not what the senator wants to hear,” he said.
Senators are expected to inspect the building within the week.
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