MANILA, Philippines - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday, September 8, said he had no qualms over showing CCTV footage of him speaking to resource persons during the Senate's probe on an allegedly overpriced Makati building.
Trillanes was reacting to a request made by Senator Nancy Binay for footage of Trillanes “bullying” executives of Hilmarc’s Construction Corporation during the Senate’s August 20 and 26 hearings.
"This is a matter that should concern the Senate since it involves the conduct of a senator and his treatment of a resource person whose testimony discredited the allegations of overpricing," said Senator Binay.
But, Trillanes said, showing the footage would not show how the Binay family allegedly plundered the coffers of Makati city.
Hilmarc’s is the contractor of a controversial Makati building that is the basis of plunder raps against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay.
The Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee is also holding a probe into the allegations.
Trillanes, during the last hearing, denied coercing or bullying resource persons.
This was after Hilmarc’s vice president for legal Rogelio Peig told the sub-committee that a senator had pulled them aside on the sidelines of the first hearing.
Peig earlier told the Senate he building was not overpriced, at least compared to their other government projects.
After a series of questions from Senator JV Ejercito, Peig said the senator asked them to hold back on their presentation and let other resource persons go first.
Trillanes was not present at the beginning of Peig's narration but re-entered the session hall after Ejercito's series of questions.
Trillanes then asked to speak since his name was already mentioned.
Senator Koko Pimentel, who chairs the subcommittee, clarified that Trillanes was never mentioned but said he could speak if he "felt alluded to."
Peig later clarified he was not forced by Trillanes to hide anything. "In fairness to you, hindi po. Nakwento ko lang kung ano ang nangyari," said Peig during the September 4 hearing.
It's not the first time that the Binay camp accused Trillanes of bullying witnesses. The vice president's spokesman Governor Jonvic Remulla earlier challenged the senator to address accusations of bullying witnesses during the probe.
The Binays have dismissed the probe as merely politically motivated. The vice president is gunning for the presidency in 2016. Trillanes and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who have led the grilling of resource persons, have both expressed their desire to run for higher office.
In a previous interview, Senator Binay said the probe wasn't meant to seek the truth but to increase media exposure for people with political dreams.
Several resource persons have accused the family of profiting from the city -- from other public buildings to the cakes the city gives to its senior citizens.
Three of the witnesses who've alleged the Vice President and his family of corruption have since asked the Justice department to admit them as state witnesses.
Former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, lawyer Renato Bondal and
colleague Nicolas Enciso VI submitted on Monday their bid for the witness protection program.
Bondal and Enciso filed the plunder case before the Ombudsman and alleged the vice president earned from it. Mercado meanwhile said he earned from the construction of the building and said the vice president did too. However, he declined to give further details saying he would do so in the proper venue. – Rappler.com