Bro. Mike asked for C-5 realignment, earned P1.2 billion
By Evelyn Macairan
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Bro. Mariano “Mike” Velarde has admitted requesting the government to move the position of the C-5 Road so that it would only cause minimal damage to his property.
Velarde was said to have earned P1.2 billion for road right-of-way on his 14-hectare Amvel property.
He reportedly said that it was his right to receive the money because he is the owner of the 14-hectare property.
The El Shaddai leader said that this information was only being released now “because it is only now that I am being asked.”
In fact Velarde’s spokesman, Mel Robles, yesterday said that the El Shaddai servant leader was willing to appear in the Senate inquiry, but did not receive any invitation.
When asked if Velarde would be interested to attend the C-5 hearing in the Senate if it is resurrected in the 15th Congress, Robles declined to comment since this was still “speculation.”
Robles said there was nothing wrong if the head of the El Shaddai requested for a diversion of the C-5 project during the time of former President Fidel Ramos.
“I do not see anything wrong with Bro. Mike’s request to move the construction of the C-5. There is no irregularity. Had Bro. Mike not asked for a diversion, there would be more damage to his property,” he said.
Villar washes hands
Meanwhile, Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. reiterated that he had only good faith in seeking the completion of the C-5 Road.
“I have said so many times that I did not re-align that project, that I only wanted that project to finish,” Villar said over dzRH radio. “I am happy with the revelation of Bro. Mike. Projects like this should be done in other parts of the country.”
Villar was reacting to Velarde’s admission in a TV interview that he was the one who influenced the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during the Ramos and Estrada administrations not to allow the proposed Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to pass his property.
The NP bet said he has been bullied and ganged up on by his colleagues at the Senate regarding the issue in their attempt to derail his presidential bid.
He defended himself over accusations that he benefited when he sought the appropriations of P200 million from the 2008 budget to speed up construction of the controversial road.
“There’s a lot of accusations that were thrown at me but the truth is I don’t have anything to do with it. The truth is that it was a very beautiful project,” Villar said in Filipino.
He said more than six million road users from Cavite, Las Piñas and Parañaque as well as those from Makati and Pateros are benefiting from the project, which has been partially opened to motorists recently.
“Now that it has opened, everybody will see that this is a very good project. That they will save travel time, especially for those living in the southern part of Metro Manila,” Villar said.
He also vowed during his campaign sorties to make infrastructure development as one of his major projects once elected as president in May.
He said he envisioned the linking of the country’s two major highways – Southern Luzon and the Northern Luzon expressways – to allow better transport of goods and food crops from major provinces to various destinations and seaports. – Christina Mendez