Trillanes: ‘Blacklist’ Makati building firm from gov’t deals

Bea Cupin
Trillanes: ‘Blacklist’ Makati building firm from gov’t deals
'Don't be afraid to tell the truth," senators tell Hillmarc's executives at the Senate probe on the alleged overpriced Makati building

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday, September 11, said he wants Hilmarc’s Construction Company to be provisionally “blacklisted” from bidding on government projects.

Trillanes also said at the Senate hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building 2 that any pending government payments to Hillmarc’s – the contractor of the contrversial building – for government projects should be withheld until the firm is cleared of any anomalies. 

The senator said he would follow-up with Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, through Engineer Edgar Garces, to make sure Hilmarc’s does not get new government deals. 

Hilmarc’s is the contractor of the alleged overpriced Makati building, the basis of plunder raps against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son Makati mayor Junjun Binay. The older Binay was the Makati mayor when the construction of the building began.

Hillmarc’s chairman Efren Canlas represented the firm at the Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee hearing on Thursday. Hilmarc’s is also the contractor of several other Makati City buildings, and other government projects. 

Hillmarc’s had previously argued that the controversial Makati building was not overpriced, and is at par with their other government projects on a cost-per-square-meter basis. 

Estimated cost? 

Trillanes observed that Hilmarc’s practices were “very unsound,” as Canlas signed the building permit for the controversial Makati structure without stating the building’s estimated cost. 

“You left blank everything that the law requires to be specified,” Cayetano told Canlas. 

Canlas said the information was not their responsibility, something the senators refuted. 

So ganyan kayo sa Hilmarc’s? Pirma kayo ng pirma….Bahala na si Batman? (Is that how you work in Hilmarc’s? You sign documents and then come what may?), Cayetano said.

Hilmarc’s also said they were not shown building plans before they placed a bid, something another general contractor later confirmed. 

The company’s data also came into conflict with that of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) – Hilmarc’s estimates the building at P32,783.69 square meters while the DPWH pegged it at around 27,000 square meters.

Trillanes noted that the DPWH estimate would put the cost of the building at over P100,000 per square meter. 

The two senators urged Hillmarc’s to “tell the truth.” 

“You may be part of the plunder case or you could turn into witnesses,” said Cayetano, adding that “lakaran (lobbying)” was known in the industry but that “doubling and tripling prices were unheard of.”  

‘Wag kayong matakot na magsabi ng totoo (Don’t be afraid to tell the truth). The law will also protect people who will tell the truth,” added Trillanes.  –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.