Ex-councilor admits up to P500,000 monthly payola from Binay

Vice President Jejomar Binay hits back at his accusers during a televised press conference at the PICC in Pasay City on Thursday, September 18. Binay denied receiving kickbacks from the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II and from other projects in the city during his term as mayor. (MNS photo)

Vice President Jejomar Binay hits back at his accusers during a televised press conference at the PICC in Pasay City on Thursday, September 18. Binay denied receiving kickbacks from the construction of the Makati City Hall Building II and from other projects in the city during his term as mayor. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Another witness surfaced Thursday before the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee inquiry into accusations that Vice President Jejomar Binay committed acts of corruption during his stint as mayor of Makati City.

Engineer Ernesto Aspillaga, a former councilor and head of Makati City’s General Services Department (GSD) as well as member of the city’s bidding awards committee, disclosed that he received payola ranging from about P70,000 to as high as P500,000 monthly for authoring ordinances pertaining to the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati City Building 2.

In his sworn testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee chaired by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Aspillaga acknowledged that he authored two separate resolutions pertaining to the P400-M and P500-M budget appropriations for Phase 1 and 2 of the building.

He said that the grease money he received was in relation to the construction projects.

In addition, Aspillaga said, as councillor of Makati City, he would receive amounts ranging from P70,000 to P90,000 contained inside envelope.

Larger brown envelopes would have amounts as high as P300,000 to P500,000.

Aspillaga served as a district engineer of Makati City’s 2nd District from 1972 to 1986; head of the General Services Department from 1996 to 2003; and city councillor from 2004 to 2010.

He told the legislators that he believed the money came from Binay.

In some instances, Aspillaga said the bribe money was personally handed to him by former City Councilor Levy Sheron, or sometimes a member of his staff would personally fetch the money from Sheron’s office.

Aspillaga asked the Senate panel to consider his testimony part of the evidence on the on-going investigation into the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2.

He expressed hope that anomalies such as this in Makati City will not spill over into national scale, as Binay is running for President in 2016.

“By coming out with this, I hope this modest act can help stop the spate of corruption in Makati City, and, I pray, throughout our country,” Aspillaga said. (MNS)

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