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Binay spokesman barred from good view of Mercado presentation in BSP-Alphaland probe

Senators Koko Pimentel and AP Cayetano at the hearing on the BSP-Alphaland deal. Photographed by Cesar Tomambo, Senate PRIB.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay's spokesman was barred from the VIP Gallery of the Senate session hall during the 16th public hearing of the Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP)-Alphaland property development deal.

The hearing was conducted by a Senate Blue Ribbon sub-committee.

Atty. JB Bautista, and another lawyer were prevented by the Office of the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA) from entering the VIP gallery inside the session hall for what Bautista claimed were "unknown reasons."

Bautista said they wanted to sit at the gallery in order to have a clear view of the Powerpoint presentation by former Makati City vice mayor Ernesto Mercado on the alleged anomalous transaction between BSP and Alphaland on the Boy Scouts property in Makati City.

Bautista said that, as a former member of Congress, he should have been granted the courtesy to be in the VIP gallery: "I don't know why I am being treated like this."

He said the Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee chaired by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III allowed personalities allied with the administration to sit in the VIP gallery to witness the public hearing.

"We came here to witness the public hearing," Bautista said.

At the 14th hearing last year, Bautista and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco were also barred from attending the hearing.

As the congressional recess nears, attendees on this investigation in aid of legislation is observed to be dwindling in numbers.

In the Thursday session, only two senators and 11 out of 26 invited guests attended the hearing. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was absent during the hearing.

Aside from Pimentel, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano led the "question hour" on the invited government, BSP and Alphaland officials.

Among those present during the hearing were:

  • Commission on Audit (COA) Officer-in-charge Heidi Mendoza
  • Atty. Teresita J. Herbosa, chair, Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Atty. Kim Jacinto-Henares, commissioner, Bureau of Internal Revenue
  • Hans B. Sicat, President and CEO, Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)
  • Atty. Wendel E. Avisado, senior vice president, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council
  • Dale B. Corvera, BSP International Commissioner
  • Rizal C. Pangilinan, BSP secretary-general
  • Jay S. Sangalang, Alphaland
  • Gilberto Garcia
  • Rodolfo Ponferreda, representing Roberto Ongpin
  • Federico C. Cuervo, president and CEO, Cuervo Valuers and Advisory Inc.

Mercado was present, but he was not on the list of invited witness and guest.