MANILA – The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) strongly urged the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee to instigate a probe of former Makati Mayor Ernesto Mercado, as well as his purported dummy, Ariel Olivar.
On Wednesday, Binay’s camp dared the committee to look into whose dummy Olivar really was; claiming that Olivar was not Binay’s dummy but Mercado’s.
UNA called into question a testimony made on Tuesday by Mercado, in which the former Makati vice mayor stated that Binay had used Olivar’s name for the purchase of a 150-square meter unit at The Peak Condominium.
Olivar has claimed, under oath, that his name was used by Binay hide the latter’s ownership of the unit at The Peak.
UNA’s president, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, however, dared members of the Senate to look into the unit’s true ownership.
He challenged Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV to order the seizure of the unit in question, if they truly believe Mercado’s claim.
Binay’s camp insists that Mercado is the true owner of The Peak unit, and the he made Olivar lie under oath in his testimony to the Senate.
Tiangco alleged that the unit served as Mercado’s residence with then girlfriend and live-in partner, Racquel Ambrosio.
“On April 24, 2002, Ambrosio died from a gunshot wound to the stomach when the couple had a violent domestic squabble. A day after the incident, Mercado, being the prime suspect in the murder, surrendered the gun that killed Ambrosio. Later on he admitted to the police that he cleaned the crime scene,” Tiangco said; citing the case in which Mercado claimed that the fatal gunshot wound was self-inflicted by Ambrosio, who was suffering from postpartum depression.
“This is proof that VP Binay is not the owner of the properties being attributed to him,” Tiangco said.
Likewise, Tiangco said that the senators should pressure Olivar to turn over to the government all properties registered under his name.
“After discovering today the relationship of Olivar to Mercado, we are daring the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee and the concerned government agencies to seize all assets in the name of Ariel Olivar,” Tiangco said; referencing the fact that Mercado and Olivar are purportedly long-time colleagues and friends.
Tiangco claimed that Olivar was an employee in Mercado’s company, Freeway Shipping, and that the former also sat on the board of Twinleaf Group Inc., a firm owned by Mercado which he allegedly used during his time as vice mayor to amass over P1 billion from various Makati projects.
“It is a mystery why the Vice President will use as a dummy the constant companion of Mercado who also once rode on a helicopter with the staff of Senator Cayetano which took the video of Sunchamp last Nov. 2. It’s really funny for VP Binay to take one person who is not only a longtime employee of Mercado but also most likely his relative,” Tiangco said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Olivar told reporters from the Inquirer that he was “a partner and a good friend of Mercado, not his dummy.”
“What I know also is my name was used as owner of a condominium unit supposedly belonging to Vice President Jejomar Binay more than 10 years ago. Apart from this condominium unit, I have no knowledge of any property under my name on any property of Mercado,” Olivar added.