MANILA, Philippines – The alleged bagman of Vice President Jejomar Binay has broken his silence on his alleged involvement in illegal transactions with the top Philippine official.
Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan, through counsel Grace Reyes, issued a statement Thursday night, May 21, days after the Senate ordered his arrest for snubbing its hearings on corruption allegations against Binay, and over a week after the issuance of a freeze order on his and his brother’s accounts, among others.
“They are not ‘aides’ or ‘henchmen’ of the Vice President,” Reyes said, referring to Limlingan, a financial adviser of Binay, and his brother Victor.
She added, “Gerardo and Victor Limlingan are both entrepreneurs and industry experts, each with a long list of accomplishments and with vast experience in their respective fields.”
The two-page statement gave a peek into the career history of the brothers to disprove their involvement in irregular activities as alleged by whistleblowers in the Senate probe into corruption allegations against the Vice President.
The Court of Appeals had issued a freeze order on 242 accounts and investments of the Vice President, his family, and his alleged dummies, including the Limlingans.
“With the recent public leak of the Court of Appeals’ freeze order, we now hear, and read of Mr Limlingan’s brother and other members of Mr Gerardo Limlingan’s family brought into the controversy simply because they are Limlingans,” the lawyer said.
Reyes said the Limlingan brothers have known Binay since the 1970s. Victor was married into the Araullo family – family friends of Binay – in 1975.
Victor, managing director of DMCI Holdings, is a “management professional and an entrepreneur” and a “policy analyst and recognized authority in development management.” He taught public policy, business strategy and financial management at the Asian Institute of Management for 30 years.
Victor served as deputy to the Philippine executive director at the Asian Development Bank and as Civil Aeronautics Board member from 1986-1990, and was a member of the Philippine Daily Inquirer board from 1992-1997.
Reyes described Gerardo, an Ateneo alumnus like his brother, as “an accomplished investor and finance expert with wide-ranging experience in stock market and equity investments, in trading bonds, commodities, futures and options and currency and sovereign debt instruments.”
Reyes said Gerardo began his business career as co-founder of the Sarmiento Distributorship Company, which became among the largest logging suppliers in Mindanao; and “played a key role in shaping” Sarmiento Securities, a holding company with interests in various ventures.
“Mr Limlingan’s tried and tested business model is to buy undervalued assets…and sell them for a profit,” she said.
The lawyer cited some of Gerardo’s ventures:
- In partnership with other investors, he acquired a substantial interest in Mindanao Development Bank and later sold it for a profit to Equitable Bank in the 1990s
- Acquisition of the Philippine representation for Aristocrat Leisure Limited, a leading Australian manufacturer of slot machines, which led to the organization of GERDAN
- Acquisition of a cigarette manufacturing company which he sold for a profit to Indonesian tobacco company Sampurna
Gerardo’s name was mentioned many times during the Senate hearings on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall parking building, which branched into other corruption allegations against the Vice President and his family. (READ: From cakes to buildings, Binays ‘overprice, chop-chop’)
In one hearing, Jose Orillaza, the former president of Omni Security Investigation and General Services Inc – a security and janitorial company identified with Gerardo – claimed he was just Binay’s dummy and that Gerardo was Binay’s representative in the company. (READ: Binay’s ‘dear friend’ got P1.3 billion contracts in 4 years)
From 2010 to 2013 alone, Omni Security, a company put up in 1999 and operated at a loss during its first year, bagged more than P1.3 billion ($29 million*) in contracts from the Makati City government.
In November 2014, former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado told the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee that the Vice President allegedly hid his wealth through dummies, including Limlingan, Eduviges Baloloy, and businessman Antonio Tiu. (READ: Mercado shows Binay’s ‘hidden’ dollar accounts)
In the best-seller Ambition, Destiny, Victory (Stories from a Presidential Election), authors and now Rappler editors Chay F. Hofileña and Miriam Grace Go wrote that Gerardo acted as Binay’s campaign manager and finance officer during the 2010 electoral campaign. – Mia Gonzalez/Rappler.com