Senator Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV speaks with Former Makati Vice Mayor Nestor Mercado and Engr. Mario Hechanova. (MNS photo)

Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV speaks with Former Makati Vice Mayor Nestor Mercado and Engr. Mario Hechanova. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado’s accusations against Vice President Jejomar Binay are only driven by “politics and personal vendetta,” an official of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) said during a Senate inquiry on Wednesday.

During a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee hearing, BSP senior vice president Wendell Avisado said Mercado’s revelations that Binay got kickbacks from a land deal between the Boy Scouts and property developer Alphaland was not motivated by concern for the organization.

“Individually and collectively, we cannot see any other reason why Mr. Mercado is refuting the agreement now by his unfounded accusations, except his political vendetta against Vice President Jejomar Binay,” he said.

“To destroy the name, honor and reputation of VP Binay, he does not mind unnecessarily dragging the BSP into the controversy, to the extent of destroying it with his malicious assertions,” he added. “By his reckless accusations, he is sowing confusion, suspicion and mistrust in the BSP as a noble youth serving institution.”

Avisado also stressed that it was Mercado, then chairman of the BSP’s corporate assets management committee, who “strongly recommended” the transaction to the National Executive Board.

“He was fully aware that the agreement was thoroughly discussed and approved by the BSP National Executive Board, the intention being to make the property earn money for the BSP to support its operations,” he said.

“The fact is, Mr. Mercado, as chairman of the corporate assets management committee, made a thorough study, negotiated, strongly recommended the transaction to the National Executive Board for approval, and signed the agreement,” he added. “His coming out with these accusations now after close to seven years is definitely a suspect of his desire than the welfare of the BSP.”

Avisado also maintained that the BSP is not Binay, and Binay is not the BSP.

Late last month, Mercado accused Binay of getting P200 million in kickbacks from the deal between BSP and Alphaland.

According to Mercado, based on the contract between BSP and Alphaland, the BSP was supposed to receive P600 million for the Alphaland’s development of a one-hectare property donated by BF Goodrich Philippines (now Sime Darby) to BSP in 1976.

Mercado said that up to now, the BSP has yet to receive its share from the joint property development venture, while Binay has allegedly already received P200 million from the deal.

The former Makati vice mayor also claimed that Binay, longtime BSP president, used the supposed kickbacks to fund his vice-presidential bid in 2010.

Binay’s camp has already denied Mercado’s allegations.

The BSP also earlier denied entering into an anomalous contract with Alphaland for the development of a one-hectare property in Makati City.

Alphaland Corp. president Mario Oreta also belied Mercado’s accusations, saying that it was the ex-Makati vice mayor who asked for kickbacks. The property developer has also lodged a P100-million damage suit against Mercado.

On Wednesday, Avisado said as of August 31, 2014, the investment in the transaction has grown to P900 million from its initial P600 million.

He noted that this information has been sent to the Commission on Audit. (MNS)