‘Soldier following orders’
Hechanova, however, denied earning a cent from the alleged “fixing” of bids. Instead, he said, they were given monthly "allowances" of up to P200,000. When asked what the “allowance” was for, Hechanova said it was probably so they would continue to do what they needed to do.
Prodded by Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Hechanova admitted he felt “guilty” for trapping a would-be bidder inside an elevator.
“Did you admit what you did? Or did it appear as a mechanical problem? Wala naman sigurong ‘beware bidders’ [sign] sa elevators 'nyo. (Perhap there was no ‘beware bidders’ sign on your elevators)." asked Cayetano.
“Dumating siya 20 minutes late….Kasama pa niya nanay niya. Naawa nga ako eh. Kaya lang sundalo lang rin ako na kailangang sumunod sa utos (He came 20 minutes late with his mother. I felt bad. But I’m just a soldier who follows orders),” he said.
Hechanova claimed that they kept the bids for the controversial new city hall building close, prompting Cayetano to ask, “Ginawa n'yong close fight? Para exciting? (You made it a close fight? To make it exciting?)"
He responded, “Hindi naman. Para lang mas mababa ang Hilmarcs (Not really. Just so Hilmarcs would have a lower bid)."
Hechanova added that it was the Vice President himself who would reprimand him for delayed payments over the birthday cakes the city government gives to its senior citizens. The payment was allegedly meant for the Vice President’s daughter, now-Senator Nancy Binay.
Hechanova’s narrative repeated what another resource person, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado told the Senate in the previous hearing. Mercado had said he earned from the construction of the building and said it was highly likely the Vice President did too, since he was the mayor while Mercado was just the vice mayor.
Mercado had also named Nancy Binay as the one who allegedly oversaw the birthday cakes for the city’s senior citizens. Mercado, however, did not give the details of his accusations and said he would address them in “at the proper forum.”
How good a soldier is Hechanova? He told the Senate he decided to leave the city around the end of 2009 over what he saw as the Vice President's “treachery.” Then mayor Binay had promised Mercado that he would support his bid for city mayor, but the Vice President supported his son instead, for the mayoralty race.
Trillanes has recommended that Hechanova be placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
The Thursday hearing is the fourth held by the Senate over an alleged overpriced building in Makati – the third was the ocular inspection of the building.
The probe was sparked by a plunder case filed against Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay.
The Binay family has dismissed the Senate hearings as politically motivated. Vice President Binay, in a press conference, had denied profitting from the building and said the city even saved P200 million from it. He is running for president in 2016 and is leading early presidential surveys.
Both Trillanes and Cayetano have expressed interest in seeking high office come 2016. The two senators have denied that the hearing is politically-motivated.
On Monday, September 1, the Senate conducted an ocular of the alleged overpriced building in Makati. During the inspection, Trillanes told reporters the building did not seem “world class.” – Rappler.com