MANILA, Philippines – Former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado on Thursday, November 6, said a parcel of land within the supposed “Hacienda Binay” in Rosario, Batangas, is under his name.
Mercado said the 42,157 square meter parcel, with OCT P-36759, is located within the Rosario, Batangas property tagged “Hacienda Binay” but claimed by businessman Antonio Tiu as his. The former vice mayor recalled that many years ago, former Makati mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay had asked him to sign a deed of sale for a parcel of land.
At the time, Mercado claimed he did not understand why he was signing the deed of sale but did so anyway. He added that he only found out that the land was under his name through a television report. (READ: The Jojo Binay that Mercado knew)
The former vice mayor said it was Binay who paid for it.
Mercado revealed these at the resumption on Thursday of a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee probe into corruption allegations against Binay. Whistleblowers led by Mercado have alleged that Binay amassed ill-gotten wealth during his stint as Makati mayor through bid rigging and kickbacks. He allegedly hid his wealth by using dummies such as Tiu.
Mercado, in earlier hearings, alleged Binay owns a 350-hectare estate in the sleepy town of Rosario. The property, however, has been claimed by businessman Tiu.
Mercado said he did not transfer the property to Tiu or to Laureano Gregorio, the person Tiu claimed he had bought the land from. Mercado explained that was how Binay “operates” – land is acquired under other people’s names and is later gated and surrounded by parcels of land owned by other people.
Mercado added: “Sa Diyos at sa tao, base sa dokumento… ako po ang may-ari ng lupa na iyon.” (Before God and people, based on documents… I am the owner of that land.)
Tiu has argued that he owns 145 hectares of the property through his company Sunchamp Real Estate and Development Corporation, which is being developed into “Sunchamp Agri-Tourism Farm.” The property, Tiu claimed, was formally turned over to him in July this year.
A month later, Tiu officially launched the farm in an event attended by agriculture officials and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, one of the legislators leading the subcommittee probe. – Rappler.com