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COA to reinvestigate Makati City Hall Building II

The Commission on Audit (COA) will conduct another audit investigation on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II, which has become a basis for a plunder complaint filed against Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“We are putting together a team of auditors and we're getting experts outside our office to look at it again,” COA commissioner Grace Pulido-Tan said during the second day of the Good Governance Dialogues held in Quezon City.

The team who will conduct the investigation is expected to be completed next week.

“By next week we should be coming up with a team already,” Tan said. “We will get experts to join us. We have to keep it under wraps muna.”

The alleged overpricing of the 11-storey building—the construction of which was approved in 2007 during Binay's term as Makati mayor—is the subject of a current investigation by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.

According to lawyer Renato Bondal, who filed the complaint against Binay, the city government allocated P2.7 billion for the construction of the project when it only declared P1.5 billion as the total cost of the project.

During its first hearing, Binay's son, incumbent Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, said an internal audit specialist from COA has already cleared the project of any irregularity.

In the same hearing, however, Tan said the COA did not issue any clearance about the building and that the audit investigation report about the project, submitted by then Makati City auditor Cecilia Cagaanan, is still under evaluation by the COA central office.

Tan said among the issues that the COA team would look into is why the project was divided into several phases.

“This is just one project and yet the implementation was divided into five phases, we have to look into that,” she said.

She said the result of their investigation will be submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman as well as to the Senate blue ribbon committee.

Binay and his son, who was Makati councilor in 2007, along with 21 other Makati City officials, are facing plunder charges before the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged overpriced project. —KBK, GMA News