Deflecting overprice: Binay’s t-shirts defense

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


THE building is priced at P1.56 billion but don't say it's expensive.

Vice President Jojo Binay and his son Makati Mayor Junjun, charged with plunder over a parking facility called City Hall 2, don't like voters to equate "costly" with "overpriced."

VP Jojo said it's like building a house or printing t-shirts. The prices vary, depending upon materials, size, space, design. In Makati, Jojo said, they only make high-quality structures. So it's expensive?

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"I can't see how it can be viewed as expensive," said the VP who was Makati mayor for 21 years until his son Jun succeeded him. It cost a lot of money (almost P2 billion), yet it's not expensive?

Word meanings are warped to explain how the building could eat up so much money. And proving the price padding is even more difficult.

Complainants usually compare the questioned building with similar structures in the private sector that cost less. But suspicion and guessing aren't enough.

With no access to construction data and no experts to compare costs, complainants
don't have the smoking gun.

When a complaint was filed against builders of Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), the problem was evidence.

A complainant lamented: "How do you check cost of materials buried in ground or covered with concrete?"

Tough

Unless a whistleblower would squeal on details or an army of technicians could check every inch and every object, establishing overprice is tough.

So respondents like the Binays can mesmerize the public, unchallenged, about costing houses and, yes, t-shirts.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 25, 2014.

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