Are Makati's cakes really 'overpriced'?

MAKATI PERKS. Senior citizens receive a number of benefits from the Makati city government, including free cakes on their birthdays. File photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

MAKATI PERKS. Senior citizens receive a number of benefits from the Makati city government, including free cakes on their birthdays.

File photo by Franz Lopez/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The free birthday cakes for the senior citizens of Makati have been the subject of controversy for more than a year now.

In August 2014, lawyer Renato Bondal alleged that currently suspended Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr and his father, former Makati mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay, had overpriced the cakes.

Bondal told the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the corruption allegations against the Vice President that the cakes were overpriced at P1,000 each.

However, city records showed that the birthday cakes, which at the time were being supplied by Timestate Food and Beverages Corporation’s Bakerite, were actually only priced at P306.75 each. Bondal was later quoted as saying that he was only guessing when he made the overpricing claim.

More than a year later, former Makati vice mayor Bobby Brillante filed a graft complaint against acting Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr for supposedly overpricing the cakes yet again, this time by around P3 million.

Elected Vice Mayor Peña was sworn in as acting mayor after the Ombudsman issued a 6-month preventive suspension order against Mayor Binay. Peña named Goldilocks Bakeshop Incorporated as the new cake supplier, approving a budget of P8,666,080.50 ($185,172.66) for 31,187 cakes.

However, Brillante questioned the price, saying that the Goldilocks cakes, which have a 9-inch diameter and two-inch height, are smaller compared to the cakes of Bakerite, which had the same diameter but were thicker by two inches.

Here’s a visual comparison of the cakes senior citizens of Makati received from March 2014 to mid-2015 when Bakerite was still the supplier, and when Goldilocks took over and started supplying the cakes from August 15 this year:

Graphics by Nico Villarete

This is how we were deceived. Bumaba ng P26 'yung halaga ng cake pero it was reduced by ½ kasi,” argued Brillante. (This is how we were deceived. The price of the cake decreased by P26 but it was because the size decreased by half.)

So were the people of Makati blindsided by the new administration that promised reforms in the city? 

You decide. – Rappler.com

Whose cakes do you think are overpriced?

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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