MANILA, Philippines – “Flawed and fuzzy math” are the culprits behind allegations of the overpricing of the Makati Science High School building, which was funded by the city. This is the Binay camp’s defense against the allegations made by lawyer and former Makati barangay chairman Renato Bondal.
Speaking for the side of the Vice President, Makati City government spokesperson Joey Salgado said yesterday that Bondal “conveniently overlooks the fact that the total construction cost includes the cost of the school’s foundation, finishing and facilities. If we go by his fuzzy math, then all public school buildings are overpriced.”
Furthermore, Salgado said Bondal should be held accountable not only for his “flawed math,” but also for lying.
“Remember this is the same person who has perjured himself before the Senate. Mr. Bondal claimed that the birthday cakes given by Makati to senior citizens were overpriced at P1,000, only to admit later that the amount was just a guess,” Salgado said.
Appearing before the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee on Thursday, the former barangay chairman disclosed that the bidding for the Makati Science High School building was fixed to bump-up the cost of construction of the 10-storey public school building by P862 million.
Bondal said that as reflected by the paperwork in his possession, the average cost per square meter of the high school building is pegged at P72,500; putting the cost of each classroom at P24.6 million.
The total cost of construction of the Makati Science High School is P1.5 billion, perhaps making it the country’s most expensive school building in the country, Bondal said. He added that the city of Makati has already spent P1.333 billion on the project, thus far.
Salgado, on the other hand, noted that the Commission on Audit (COA) closely scrutinized all city projects, and that the bidding processes for these were all in compliance with existing rules.
“Both (City Hall) Building 2 and Makati Science have passed COA review. If Mr. Bondal and the Senate are confident in their latest allegations, then they should file a case before the courts,” Salgado said.
However, former Makati City General Services Department head and vice chairman of the city government’s Bids and Awards Committee, Mario Hechanova, backed-up Bondal’s claims.
Hechanova told the Senate subcommittee that the bidding for construction of the Makati Science High School was fixed in favor of Hilmarc’s Construction Corp.
To this, Salgado asked that Hechanova desist from involving the name of Nelson Morales, Makati’s city engineer who was gunned down in September 2012, in the issues at hand
“We appeal to Mr. Mario Hechanova to stop using the name of a dead person in making false testimonies before the Senate. The family and relatives of former City Engineer Nelson Morales are still grieving from his tragic death and Mr. Hechanova should spare them the agony of hearing the name of their lost kin being besmirched,” he said.