Friday, November 14, 2014

Mejorada o Gran Error

I watched the first hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the alleged Overpricing and Plunder charges re construction of the Iloilo Convention Center (ICC).

Manuel Mejorada, complainant for Plunder against Senate President Frank Drilon, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, and DOT Secretary Ramon Jimenez before the Office of the Ombudsman, was the principal witness/resource person at the Senate hearing.

Represented by Senator Nancy Binay, the hope of the Binay family is to divert attention of the press/media and the public from the on-going Senate Blue Ribbon Subcommittee hearing re Makati Parking Building.  

It is probably premature but my first impression is that the effect could just be the opposite.  In fact, if the effect were not “multiplier”, it would definitely ADD (Attention, Difference, Difficulties).

Attention would be drawn more towards the Binay “overpricing” investigation; Difference or comparison would be made between the two; and most importantly, Difficulties await the Binays in explaining and responding to the allegations.

Manuel MejoradaManuel Mejorada

Manuel’s Error Mejorada or Gran Error: 
1.   Admission by Mejorada that he does not have any evidence proving conspiracy or guilt between and among Senate President Drilon, DPWH Secretary Singson, and DOT Secretary Jimenez;
2.    Basis of allegations only come from online sources such as Wikepedia carrying no evidentiary weight;
3.   Alleged supporting expert witnesses were heard by him only in “whispers” – worse than inadmissible “hearsay” because “no hear the say” and not under oath;
4.    Falsely alleging that the bid announcement of the project did not include scope of work – thus bids were mostly high. It turned out that scope of work were detailed at the Pre-bid conference and that interested bidders can request or buy copies of bid proposal forms;
5.   Claiming to be an investigative journalist but of the worst kind. According to DPWH Secretary Singson, Mejorada could have easily known the scope of work if he just asked Singson or his office copies of the documents containing the scope of work; 
6.    Complainant expects either the Ombudsman or the Senate to use subpoena powers to obtain evidence supporting his accusations.This is called “fishing expedition”;
7.   Alleging that because the maximum appropriation for the project was low, it resulted in“failure of bidding” twice. The bid proposals were high. The government stuck to the original appropriation even requiring “value engineering” for the bidders to reduce costs. It succeeded. Contrary to the accusation, the result was reasonable pricing but definitely NOT Overpricing; and
8.    Falsely and wrongly including incorruptible Cabinet Secretaries Singson and Jimenez in the Plunder complaint is definitely the worst mistake of all. Coming from and earning several times more from the private sector, they joined the government answering the call from President Aquino for good and honest public service.

VP Binay and Senate President DrilonVP Binay and Senate President Drilon

Drilon vs. Binay Investigations

1.   Senate President Frank Drilon was willing to face the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and he did. Vice President Jojo Binay is not willing to.
2.    Testimonial evidence by former allies with personal knowledge and direct participation were offered against Binay. Accuser against Drilon admits that he does not have evidence.
3.   Expert witnesses were offered against Binay. Only “whispers” by supposed architects were offered against Drilon.
4.   Documentary evidence was offered to support accusations against Binay. So far, no valid documentary evidence has been offered to support the allegations against Drilon. In fact, the available documentary evidence supports the defense for Drilon and co-accused instead.
5.   Numbers tell the story. The numbers shown or mentioned at the Binay hearing support the accusations against him. The numbers shown or mentioned in the Drilon hearing so far support the defense of Drilon, and of course, the two Cabinet Secretaries.
6.    Senators Koko Pimentel and Sonny Trillanes are in both the Binay and Drilon investigations. Senator Alan Cayetano would most likely join them in subsequent hearings. Through them, Attention to the Binay investigation would be made; Differences would be spelled out; and Difficulties for the Binays (Senator Nancy on the inside and the Vice President as well as the other kids on the outside) would be felt more pronouncedly.

I can’t wait for the next Binay and Drilon hearings. Remember, Argumentum Contra Factum Non Valet Ilatio (Arguing against facts is an invalid inference). The Truth shall set you free!

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