MANILA – Lawyer Renato Bondal, who testified at the hearing before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee last Thursday, accused Vice President Jejomar Binay of another corruption allegation.
Bondal claimed that a Makati City shelter fund intended for two housing projects for several homeless families was instead used extravagantly for the Makati Friendship Suites, a hotel which accommodated local government officials and political allies.
“Si Vice President po ay kumita d’yan po sa proyektong Friendship Suites na dapat ‘yang proyektong ‘yan ay para sa mahihirap na taga-lungsod ng Makati na para po maging kanilang bahay. Ngunit hindi po nangyari ‘yan at ang ginawa po nila ay naging hotel…” Bondal said in his opening statement,” Bondal said.
(The Vice President earned kickbacks from the Friendship Suites project, a project supposedly intended to shelter Makati’s poor families. But that did not materialize and what they made instead was a hotel…)
Bondal stressed that the city’s housing fund amounted to P1 billion and was supposed to finance housing projects in Makati City and the Makati Homeville project in Calauan, Laguna.
“Masakit pa po dyan kahit pwede na pong ipamigay or ipamahagi sa mahihirap ng Makati, ‘yan pong mga Friendship Suites na tinatawag, ay ginigiba po, dinidemolish ang ating mga kababayan at itinatapon sa Calauan, Laguna,” Bondal added.
(And what upsets me is that the so-called Friendship Suites could have been given to Makati’s poor residents, but it was demolished and the poor were relocated to Calauan, Laguna.)
The supposed beneficiaries then ended up in squalid resettlement sites, while former Makati Mayor Binay received kickbacks, P195 million from the Makati Friendship Suites and another P900 million from the Makati Homeville project.
Aside from the misappropriation of the fund, Bondal also believed that there was overpricing in the Makati Friendship Suites.
He said that three buildings were bought for the hotel suites at an average P17.2 million but the renovation costs reached as high as P242 million. He came up with the estimate from reports of city engineers and from his own computation.
Bondal, however, admitted that he lacked evidence to support his accusations.
Binay’s spokesperson, Joey Salgado, for their part, slammed the new allegation and said that it was ‘another work of fiction.’
“Another work of fiction from a serial election loser in Makati and self-confessed manghuhula (guesser),” Salgado said, mentioning Bondal’s earlier claim of the overpriced birthday cakes discredited by official documents.