There was no overpricing in the construction of an 11-story parking building in Makati City.
This was how Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian defended Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is facing P1.56- billion plunder charges along with 21 others last month.
Citing the six-page Commission on Audit or COA investigation report issued last February, Gatchalian expressed confidence that the charges against Binay will be dropped.
A report from resident auditor Cecilia Caga-anan stated that the construction of the Makati City parking building along F. Zobel Street in Barangay Poblacion was reasonably priced.
Results of the COA probe apparently belie allegations made by lawyer Renato Bondal and Nicanor Enciso of the group Save Makati Movement or SMM.
The same investigation results were sent by the Makati City resident COA auditor through a memorandum to National Capital Region (NCR) local government sector head Carmelita Antasuda in response to a letter by Bondal himself dated Jan. 10, 2014.
The letter asked for a probe, specifically on the alleged discrepancy between the actual project cost and data from the National Statistics Office or NSO.
“The fact that the COA report is known to the persons who filed the plunder case against the vice president and his mayor-son further confirms suspicions that the Ombudsman case is purely political in purpose meant to derail the presidential bid of VP Binay,” Gatchalian said.
“This is purely to discredit the vice president and at the same time to distract the public from the pressing issue of DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program),” he added.
The stalwart of Nationalist People’s Coalition reiterated there is just no basis for the claim of discrepancy between the project cost and statistics from the NSO cited by Bondal.
He pointed to the COA report which noted that construction cost of buildings vary depending on design and whether it is a high-rise or low-rise building.
“High-rise building with unstable soil conditions will entail a more rigid and complicated base/structural preparations and requires higher quantity and quality of materials to be used,” the COA report stated.
“Structures with parking areas require different design as compared to a common/regular building, which is subjected to heavier and moving loads. In addition, the building is designed to withstand earthquake with certain level of intensity,” it added.