‘VP Binay got P188.9-M kickback from BSP’

3 years ago

Vice President Jejomar Binay was accused yesterday of getting P188.9 million in kickbacks from the commercial development of a one-hectare property belonging largely to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines on Ayala Avenue near Malugay Street in Makati.

Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado dropped the new bombshell when the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II resumed yesterday.

The Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), of which Binay is national president, owns 60 percent of the property.

BF Goodrich Philippines donated the lot to the BSP in 1976 with the agreement that the firm would have exclusive leaseholder rights for 25 years.

Mercado said BF Goodrich, now known as Sime Darby, wanted to renew the leaseback agreement for another 25 years, but former Manila mayor Alfredo Lim and the BSP challenged it in court.

The Boy Scouts lost the case, he added.

Mercado said sometime between 2004 and 2005, Binay, in his capacity as BSP national president, went to Sime Darby to negotiate a settlement agreement.

A joint sale agreement was signed in July 2005 under which BSP would get 60 percent and Sime Darby 40 percent of the property, he added. The property was appraised at P1 billion at the time, he said.

Mercado said in 2007, Alphaland Development Inc. of businessman Roberto Ongpin started negotiations with the BSP for the development of the property.

Alphaland acquired Silvertown Property Development Corp., the local arm of Sime Darby, along with its 40 percent share of the Makati property, he added.

Mercado said Alphaland and the BSP entered into a joint venture agreement in 2008 to develop the property.

Binay designated him as the signatory in his capacity as BSP senior vice president, he added.

Under the agreement, BSP would get 15 percent of the project and Alphaland 85 percent, he said.

Mercado said he did not want to agree to the terms because 15 percent was too small a percentage for the BSP, and that he wanted 20 percent.

He eventually gave in after Gerry Limlingan, Binay’s supposed bagman, told him that the BSP would actually get 20 percent, although five percent would go to Binay, he added.

Mario Oreta, Alphaland president and vice chairman, told him that he and Limlingan would take care of hiding the five percent share of Binay through one of his companies, Noble Care Management Corp., he said.

Mercado said the BSP was again shortchanged in 2010 when Alphaland used the Makati property as collateral for a P1.7-billion loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines.

The joint venture agreement was also amended in 2011 to pave the way for the sale of the BSP’s share to Alphaland for a total amount of P600 million, he added.

Mercado said the P600 million did not go to the BSP, but was instead invested in the Alphaland project.

The BSP was given a 15 percent share of the project.

It comprised the BSP convention center on the third floor of the Podium and a portion of towers one and two, he added.

However, Mercado said Alphaland reduced this in 2013 to only tower three and the BSP convention center at the Podium.

In a letter to Mercado, Oreta said the share of the BSP in the project now amounts to P3 billion.

However, Mercado said no document exists to support the claim by Oreta. The BSP has also lost properties in Davao City, Pasig and Manila during Binay’s incumbency as national president, he added.

He intends to file a plunder complaint against the BSP national executive board for allowing the transactions to take place, Mercado said.

Like a bikini

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano likened the BSP deal with Alphaland to a bikini, which is “revealing” but has more to offer when it is scrutinized.

“I remembered what I have read,” he said.

“One of my favorite quotes – which describes statistics – and describes this deal: Statistics is like a bikini, what it shows is revealing but what it hides is essential.”