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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nothing Extraordinary in Makati Building Remulla Assails Assessment

Senators Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV yesterday inspected the controversial Makati City Hall II building and were greeted with a huge crowd of supporters of the Binay family who expressed dismay over the manner by which the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee is conducting its investigation.
After the inspection, Senate probers found nothing extraordinary with the Makati City Hall Building II.
“It’s an average standard office building. I’d say it’s a modern building of average standard but I wouldn’t consider it to be (of) world class standard,” said Greg Jackson, an Australian independent quantity surveyor tapped by the committee for the on-site probe.
Trillanes agreed with the observation of the surveyor. 
“Our resource persons do not see anything extraordinary (with it) meaning, the materials used was only of standard or average including the finishing,” Trillanes said.
“This is contrary to their claim it is world-class, that the materials used were costly. We did not see that,” Trillanes pointed out.
But the camp of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay dismissed as “biased” Trillanes’s assessment.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Binay’s spokesman for political affairs, said Trillanes’ observation after the inspection of the structure is “subjective.” “What is important is that the materials used are the same ones reflected in the bill of materials,” Remulla stressed. 

“Sen. Trillanes says there is nothing extraordinary or world class about Building II. What is important is that the materials used are the same ones reflected in the bill of materials, bidding was conducted, and that the Commission on Audit audited the entire process and rendered a finding that there was no overpricing,” Remulla said.
“Outside these issues, they are subjective, biased statements,” he added.
Despite two hearings, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee still has not produced any concrete proof of the alleged overpricing of the building, he said.
Federico Cuervo, real estate broker and consultant for Cuervo Valuers and Advisory (CV&A), said that even the atrium and the supposed landscape roof deck of the building do not appear special.
Danny Alano, from the Philippine Institute of Architects, said that to claim a building is world-class, it should be comparable to a five-star hotel.
Outside the controversial building, Binay supporters, including city officials and barangay leaders, held placards stating their support for the Binays.
Some placards read, “VP Binay, we are behind you! Go! Fight,” “100% Binay,” “Tigilan na ang pagsisinungaling at panghuhula!” (Stop lying and guessing!), and “Kay Binay, gumanda and buhay!” (With Binay, life became better!). among others.
The loyal supporters insisted that Vice President Binay and his son, Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr., are innocent of the allegations against them. The rallyists believe that the issue is just a ploy conjured up by political opponents of the Binay family.
“To senators and parties who want to smear the reputation of our vice president, we, as people of Makati will fight! We have friends and relatives in various cities and provinces. We will never forget everything you are doing,” said Barangay South Cembo Chairman Ritchie Rodriguez in Filipino. His brave statement fueled the emotions of the rallyists even further.
A resident also questioned why the giving of cakes has become an issue just now when the Binays have been distributing cakes for years. “Why only now?” lamented a senior citizen. They believe that opponents are making an issue out of it to destroy the Binays.
It was recalled that lawyer Renato Bondal had earlier claimed that the cakes given to senior citizens in Makati during their birthdays cost P1,000. But when confronted with documents detailing the cost of each cake, Bondal told senators that the P1,000 price was just his guess.
The rallyists were firm in saying that they will support the vice president, especially in the coming 2016 elections.
Earlier, Makati Mayor Binay revealed that their opponents’ plan was to suspend him, along will all the city councilors. He claimed that only the vice mayor, who is a member of another party, will be spared from suspension.
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