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FROM 'GHOST' SENIORS TO 'GHOST' PERSONNEL

Trillanes: VP Binay earned P2B in kickbacks from service deals


(Updated 4:30 p.m.) Vice President Jejomar Binay pocketed some P2 billion from the salaries of alleged ghost personnel in Makati City and contracts entered into by firms owned by his supposed dummies, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV claimed Wednesday.

At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee's hearing on alleged anomalies linked to Binay and his family, Trillanes said Binay, who served as Makati mayor for several terms, got around P2 billion from the city government’s contracts for janitorial, security and IT services.

He said all services were cornered by firms whose owners have connections with the Binay family. Binay's son, Junjun, was the suspended mayor of Makati.

Later after the hearing, Trillanes told reporters: “Base dun sa lumabas kanina, ang total na kinikita ng mga Binay through the dummy companies ay abot ng P2 bilyon.” 
 
“Wala nang ibang pupuntahan [ito]. Nakita naman natin yung interlocking interests tsaka interlocking incorporators and directors. Ito na rin yung mga na-identify na dummies sa Hacienda Binay, doon sa iba pang mga kompanya na nagdiscover natin,” he said.
 
During the hearing, Engineer Mario Hechanova, former head of the Makati General Services Department (GSD), said the Binays earned from the projects in two ways.

“Lahat ng project sa Makati ay bidding-biddingan [fake bidding]… Dalawa ang pwede, ghost deployment at profit sa kumpanya,” he said.

In his presentation before the subcommittee, Hechanova said at least P648 million was earned from the security services and another P612 million from janitorial services for the past 10 years, for a total of P1.26 billion. His presentation did not include figures covering contracts for IT services.

Service Contracts



According to Hechnova, 10 percent of employees hired through the said contracts were “ghost” personnel. For security guards, 60 of the 600 were allegedly non-existent personnel.

Hechanova said the monthly salaries of these ghost personnel for the past 10 years went to the pockets of the Binays.

Hechanova is a supposed protegé of former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, one of the witnesses who spoke on the corruption allegations against Binay, his former ally.

According to Trillanes, P700 million of the P1-billion worth of contracts for IT services went to the Binays. He explained that the remaining amount was the only capital spent by the dummy IT firms.

Aside from ghost personnel, Binay is also accused of enrolling ghost senior citizens in the city government's program for the elderly — an accusation denied by Ryan Barcelo, former officer-in charge of the Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD).

At the same hearing, Arthur Cruto, head of the Makati Action Center, said at least 40 percent of senior citizens listed among blu card holders in Makati City are ghost beneficiaries.

Senior Citizens



But according to Barcelo, who was OIC of MSWD from October 2012 until he was replaced in early July this year, said there was “no way that ghosts may be enrolled to the program.”

“Nag-apply sila ay buhay sila at nag-comply sila sa requirements,” he told the members of the subcommittee.

Binay, the opposition's presumptive standard bearer in the 2016 elections, has denied allegations of ghost senior citizens in the city's program. He has also refused to give credence to the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee's investigation.

'Without basis'

On Wednesday, lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesperson for political affiars, said Trillanes’ accusations are “without basis.”
 
“Trillanes once again accuses without basis, then dares the accused to prove innocence,” he said in a statement.
 
Quicho said the Senate subcommittee have so far failed to provide concrete proof on the allegations against Binay after more than a year of hearings.
 
“No concrete proof other than the say-so of Mercado and Hechanova who are self-confessed grafters. No concrete proof other than the "hula-hula" of Renato Bondal,” he said.
 
“Bukod sa Powerpoint at mga alegasyon, nasaan ang kongkretong ebidensya? Madaling mag-akusa, mahirap gawing totoo ang kasinungalingan,” Quicho added. — KBK/RSJ, GMA News
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