On Heidi Mendoza's testimony
Corruption without bounds.
|COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza|
"It seems that what comm. Mendoza found out way back then was just the tip of the iceberg. With the alleged overprice in this Makati parking building and Heidi's testimony, I am beginning to think that we are barely scratching the surface here," Cayetano said.
"Ang inaasahan sa isang government official ay aksyon na walang korapsyon. Mukhang kabaligtaran ang nangyayari sa Makati."
Medical Equipment Overpriced
COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza revealed during Thursday’s hearing that several medical equipment purchased by the local government of Makati during the term as mayor of Dra. Elenita Binay, wife of the Vice President and mother of incumbent Mayor Junjun, were overpriced by more than P61 million.
Mendoza said a special task force discovered that medical equipment purchased for the Ospital ng Makati back in 2000 to 2001 were bought for P70.56 million when the actual worth was only P9.31 million.
“Pinapatunayan nito na ang daming dapat tingnan dahil talagang ang daming butas na pwedeng pinusakan ng overprice…It shows a pattern of finding a way na paikutan ang batas para maglagay ng malaking kickback o tongpats sa mga proyekto,” Cayetano emphasized.
Another COA official, auditor Alexander Juliano, read a preliminary report on the Makati parking building that initially indicated the project was done with "undue haste" and was littered by "red flags" all throughout its procurement process.
Pattern of Corruption
On account of both the COA officials' testimony, Cayetano challenged Vice President Jejomar Binay to cross examine witnesses who bared a “pattern of corruption” in the city of Makati.
“Nawawalan na sila ng oras para i-submit nila sa committee yung side nila. Kung sasabihin lang nila na talagang walang overprice at hindi totoo yung mga sinu-submit dito, dito sila magpaliwanag at dito nila harapin yung mga nag-a-akusa sa kanila para magkalinawagan,” Cayetano said.
“Sa sinasabi niya na walang ebidenysa, hindi lang testimonya pero written evidence is coming out. Parati niyang sinasabi na hindi siya umaatras sa laban, pero bakit siya nagtatago? Siya magsabi kung saan, kung kalian haharapin niya ang mga miyembro ng committee,” he said.
“Papayagan namin na siya na i-cross examine niya yung mga witnesses pero i-co-cross examine din namin siya para malaman natin kung sino ang nagsasabi ng totoo,” the senator added.
During the hearing, Juliano quoted the report as saying Phase 1 of the P2.3-billion project was implemented with "undue haste" because there were no construction plans when it was bid out and awarded to Hilmarc's Construction Corporation (HCC).
"While the swiftness of the action taken by the city government may be considered efficiency, the same could also be considered as a red flag because this project with such a huge budget will surely require a faithful conceptualization and planning," the report said.
It also reiterated the same concern raised by COA chairperson Grace Pulido-Tan that it is questionable for the Makati city government disbursed an aggregate amount of P793.74 million for Phases IV and V even if the COA inspection report dated July 7, 2011 said the parking building was already "habitable and ready for use upon completion of Phase III."
The COA further noted that Makati incurred "unnecessary expenditures for mobilization and demobilization."
"Considering that only one contractor made all the five phases of the project, the city government may have incurred unnecessary expenditures for mobilization and demobilization for Phases II to V amounting to P14,490,856.24 which were included in the Agency Cost Estimate," it said.
HCC was the lone and winning bidder from Phases 2 to 5. There were three bidders who supposedly participated in the first phase of the project but it was also HCC who won the bid.
"Kailangan natin akyson na walang korupsyon. Walang masama sa pagpapatayo ng parking building pero dapat singko na ginasta dito ay dapat napunta talaga sa proyekto. Pera ng taumbayan ang ginamit para dito," he stressed.
“The committee will try to wrap up next hearing as far as the Makati City parking building. Pag nakita na may overpriced, maaaring tingnan yung ibang building at tapusin yung ibang mga isyu sa pattern of corruption,” he said. ###