Nine months before the filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2016 elections, the air has become polluted with politics and bitterness. Old friendships are being broken and old alliances are being strained. Pacts with the devil are being worked out -- all in the name of politics and unbridled ambition. It’s every man for himself. Destroy every and all enemies is the rule of the day, by means fair or foul, mostly foul.
The flavor of the season so far is Vice President Jejomar Binay. Jojo Binay is a human being. He is not perfect, just like BS Aquino who told Pope Francis in his face, “I human and thus, I am imperfect,” before the President launched an attack of the pope’s bishops and priests, from the 16th century to the present century, while welcoming the Pontiff in Malacañang, the presidential palace, Jan. 16.
My advice to VP Binay: Come clean. Make a reasoned and credible response to all the allegations of corruption and misdeeds. The people still like you, if not love you. You still top the presidential preferences surveys by a convincing margin. The people want you to lead them in 2016. The people are giving you the benefit of the doubt.
Meanwhile, I’d like to print a press release sent to me yesterday by Alphaland:
It was reported in Thursday’s (Jan, 22) issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer that: “Vice President Jejomar Binay, longtime Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) president, allegedly earned close to P200 million in kickbacks from a deal between the BSP and Alphaland Corp. for the development of a one-hectare prime property in Makati City, according to former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado.”
Alphaland categorically, and in the strongest possible terms, denies these baseless and false allegations of Mr. Mercado.
There was NO “kickback” paid to any government official in connection with the Alphaland-Boy Scouts project.
In a press statement, Alphaland confirmed “that there was a deal between Alphaland and Boy Scouts in connection with that one-hectare prime property in Makati City (located at Malugay Street corner Ayala Avenue Extension) but that deal was entirely above board.”
Below is a full and complete quote
from a letter sent by Mr. Mario Oreta (President of Alphaland) in response to Mr. Mercado’s pressures and harassment on the matter:
Dear Mr. Mercado, Just before Christmas, you telephoned me regarding your intention to include Alphaland Corporation, as part of the Senate investigation against Vice President Binay.
I told you that the Alphaland -Boy Scouts deal was entirely above board and any attempt by you to state or infer otherwise would be vigorously opposed by Alphaland Corporation.
In our telephone conversation, I refreshed your memory about the transaction, as follows:
1. Before entering into the transaction with the Boy Scouts of the Philippines in 2008, there was an appraisal by an independent appraisal company, which valued the property at Php1 billion.
Obviously, Sime Darby which owned 40 percent of the property had their own appraisal made, and it was on this basis that Sime Darby readily agreed to sell the 40 percent ownership to Alphaland for P400 million.
Thus, when the Boy Scouts contributed its 60 percent ownership to the project, it was valued on the same basis as the appraisal and selling price of Sime Darby to Alphaland, i.e. P600 million, thus earning it a fully carried interest of 15 percent of the project which was estimated to cost P4 billion, all of which would be paid for by Alphaland.
2. I reminded you that it was you yourself who negotiated the entire deal with me as “Senior Vice President and Head of Asset Management Committee” and in fact, the contract between Alphaland and the Boy Scouts was signed by you in this capacity and not by Vice President Binay.
3. I am sure you will remember that you made less than subtle hints that some “benefits” were due to you for agreeing to conclude this project, and I am sure that you will also remember what explained to you that Alphaland was a joint venture company with the Ashmore Group, and that every transaction was closely scrutinized by Ashmore. Thus, it was impossible for Alphaland to agree to give you any such “benefits.”
4. Finally, I emphasized to you that the project which is now close to completion (third quarter of this year), would have a market value of over P 21 billion.
Thus, the original contribution of the Boy Scouts for its 15 percent of the project would be worth more than P3 billion or more than five times its original investment value thus, making it undoubtedly one of the best and most successful investments that the Boy Scouts ever made.
In the face of all of these facts, I had advised you to be very careful about what you say or infer about this project since it might blow up in your face. For how can you criticize this transaction which you personally negotiated with me and which is undoubtedly one of the best and successful investments ever made by the Boy Scouts?
It is now obvious that you have chosen to ignore my advice and instead, drag this transaction as part of your politically motivated and never ending tirade against the Vice President.
Today’s item in Biz Buzz (Inquirer) leaves me no choice but to put in writing my warning to you, i.e. that any attempt to include the Alphaland- Boy
Scouts transaction would leave us no choice but to defend ourselves with every recourse provided to a party, that is damaged through false and malicious allegations.
(Sgd) MARIO A. ORETA
President, Alphaland Corp.
In sum, Alphaland vehemently and categorically denies Mr. Mercado’s lies and falsehoods. Alphaland intends to sue Mr. Mercado for criminal libel and defamation (and will claim at least P100 million in damages) before the proper courts.