Binay ‘dummy’ for Makati condo surfaces
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – He is listed as the owner of the a condominium unit at the Peak Tower in Makati City but Ariel Olivar told a Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee on Thursday, January 22, that he has never paid for the homeowner dues of the unit, nor has he even stepped inside it.
Olivar, an engineer, told Senator Aquilino Pimentel III that Vice President Jejomar Binay is the real owner of the unit. As of the latest ownership documents, Olivar is still the owner of the unit.
"Ang ating vice president [Jejomar Binay] ang totoong nagmamay-ari noon. Kasi noong panahon na magkasama pa sila ni [former] vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, sinabi po sa akin [ni Mercado] kung pwede gamitin ang pangalan ko para ipangalan sa condominium unit na ito," Olivar told Pimentel.
(Vice President Jejomar Binay is the real owner of the unit. Back when Binay and Mercado were still friends, Mercado asked me if I would let them put the condominium under my name.)
Olivar, however, could not remember which when he signed those documents. He was supposed to speak before the subcommittee last year, but opted not to. (READ: Dummy for alleged Binay condo to surface)
The unit under Olivar's name is the same condominium unit Binay supposedly lent to Mercado in the early 2000s. It's the same unit where Mercado's former live-in partner, Racquel Ambrosio, was found dead in 2002.
Olivar said he has never paid taxes or association dues for the condominium unit. He said nobody was asking him to surrender the unit, but noted that documents from the register of deeds indicate officials from The Peak have already filed a notice of assesment over unpaid homeowners dues.
Instead, Mercado presented supposed “proof” that Binay was given several condominium units in the city of Makati in exchange for favors from city hall. (READ: 'Binay owns 6 condo units in Makati')
Binay was mayor of Makati for over two decades, during which he allegedly accumulated wealth by rigging bids and accepting kickbacks.
The Vice President is at the center of the subcommittee probe, initially convened to investigate an alleged overpriced Makati City building. Since the probe began in August 2014, whistleblowers have come forward to accuse Binay of a host of other alleged anomalies – from a vast estate owned through dummies and other overpriced buildings.
According to Mercado, Olivar was the engineer who measured the so-called “Hacienda Binay” in Batangas.
Rumors of Binay owning units in Makati city condominiums have long persisted. It is the first time, however, that whistleblowers have come forward with “proof” of the allegations.
Binay has denied owning any of the condominiums listed by Mercado. In previous statements, Binay's camp said Mercado, in fact, is the real owner of the unit.
The Vice President has dismissed the probe, saying it was merely part of a plot to ruin his reputation in time for the 2016 elections. – Rappler.com