Alphaland execs file libel case vs whistle-blower Ernesto Mercado
MANILA, Philippines – Two executive officers of Alphaland Corporation filed a libel complaint against former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, a whistle-blower in the ongoing Senate investigation on the corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Alphaland chairman and chief executive officer Roberto Ongpin and Mario Oreta, Alphaland president, jointly filed the libel complaint on Wednesday, October 14, at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office for the allegedly "malicious" statements of Mercado.
No damages were sought by Ongpin and Oreta, but because libel is a criminal complaint, a conviction of Mercado will result in imprisonment at the very least.
Mercado accused both Binay – who was mayor of Makati for 21 years – and Alphaland of shortchanging the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) in a land development deal for a one-hectare property in Makati.
Binay supposedly received P200 million worth of kickbacks from the deal, while the BSP did not earn anything. The Vice President and Alphaland have since denied Mercado’s claims.
Binay’s camp also said that Mercado himself wanted to profit from the deal.
"As we have said time and again, the Alphaland-Boy Scouts deal is one of the best, if not the best deal that the Boy Scouts ever made," Ongpin said in a statement.
"The deal between Alphaland and Boy Scouts is above board and transparent. Definitely, no plunder was committed by anyone. From a P600-million value in 2008, the asset of the Boy Scouts is now worth some P3 billion. t is a great mystery why Mercado is now attacking his own deal which he successfully negotiated,” he added.
Ongpin said Mercado, a former BSP senior vice president, “should be given a medal for negotiating and concluding this deal.”
Alphaland and its executives had filed several complaints against Mercado over his testimony before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee.
In their statement, Ongpin and Oreta said they had separately filed criminal libel complaints against Mercado in February 2015.
A month before, Alphaland and Ongpin lodged a P100-million damage suit against Mercado before the Makati Regional Trial Court.