VP Binay files 2nd libel complaint vs Ernesto Mercado
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay filed on Friday, September 18, a second libel case against his critic, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati.
In his complaint, Binay said Mercado made “defamatory statements” against him and violated Article 355 in relation to Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code during a Senate blue ribbon subcommittee’s hearing on the corruption allegations against the Vice President.
On November 18, 2014, Mercado said the Vice President, who was mayor of Makati for more than two decades, owned several condominium units in the city through relatives and city contractors.
Mercado claimed that these units were obtained by members of the Binay family in exchange for the speedy release of business permits and other necessary documents from city hall.
However, Binay said in the libel complaint that Mercado “has not presented any credible and admissible evidence to support or corroborate his bare allegation that I allegedly receive condo units in exchange for building permits and tax concessions.”
“Clear from the foregoing is that the damaging and ruinous claims spewed out by respondent Mercado are mere concoctions and fabrications with no other purpose than to malign, discredit, ruin my reputation and besmirch my good name as well as that of my family,” added Binay.
This is the second libel complaint Binay filed against his former politically ally-turned-rival, who also alleged that the Vice President had pocketed almost P200 million in a deal with property developer Alphaland for a Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) property in Makati.
Binay also filed a P200 million ($4.41 million) damage suit in July against Mercado and other lawmakers, political rivals, and government agencies in relation to the corruption allegations they had hurled at the Vice President since August 2014.
“This series of libel complaints filed by the Vice President shows his commitment to answer and refute the accusations against him in the proper forum in accordance with the rule of law,” said Binay’s lawyer Claro Certeza.
According to Mercado, Binay’s ownership of allegedly “60-70%” of condominiums in Makati is a long-time “open secret” in the city.
Mercado said the buildings and Binay’s supposed dummies are as follows:
- The Peak Tower through Ariel Olivar
- Le Triomphe Condo through Celso Santiago (uncle of Binay's wife Dr Elenita Binay)
- Makati Sunrise Tower Hotel (now Berjaya Hotel) also through Celso Santiago
- Perla Compania de Seguros Mansion Condotel through Benjamin Zapanta, a former Makati contractor
- Prince Plaza II Condotel through Santos Panlilio, allegedly Binay's former 'favorite' contractor
- Avignon Tower, through Santos Panlilio's wife Aurora
However, Certeza said the latest libel complaint aims to “prove that Mercado was lying when he maliciously, falsely, and feloniously accused the Vice President of extorting condo units from developers amount to 60-70% of all the condo buildings in Makati.”
“This claim has been publicly belied by the developers themselves. It only shows that Mercado is a pathological liar and has zero credibility,” the lawyer added.
Binay also said in the libel complaint that Mercado wants to malign his name and reputation because he did not endorse Mercado when he ran for mayor in 2010.
The Vice President fielded his son Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr instead, who is currently facing a 6-month preventive suspension order for allegedly overpricing a city infrastructure project.