To mainstream media the highlight of today’s Senate hearing on the overpriced Makati parking lot is the sensational “damning” testimony of another former ally of Binay, a man by the name of Hechanova.
Well, he did say some shocking things about rigged bids; about pulling a TKO on a bidder by seeing to it he was stuck in an elevator so he would be late for the submission of his bid; and about Binay personally following up checks for his daughter’s cake business. But Binay can debunk those allegations with attacks on the character of the witness, as his spokesman is doing now and as he did with the testimony of his former crony and Vice-Mayor Mercado.
So far, media has not focused on the more substantial aspect of the hearing – the powerpoint presentation of the Hilmarc lawyer asserting that both Hilmarc and Binay were on the up and up.
The lawyer presented supposed apples to apples comparisons between the Makati building and other similarly situated buildings; he explained the supposed difference between private and public procurement practices to explain cost disparities; and he highlighted the supposed price of steel at the supposed time of purchase to account for the high construction cost.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano warned the Hilmarc lawyer about perjury and then attacked the powerpoint presentation point by point. The lawyer and the engineers sitting behind him could not give a straight answer to Cayetano’s questions.
Everytime Cayetano asked a direct question, the lawyer had to plead either lack of knowledge or claim that he did not bring documents to support his claims. In the end, the lawyer could not protest when Cayetano said the powerpoint presentation was intended to mislead the public and that the lawyer was simply reading off a p.r. release meant to make Hillmarc and Binay look good.
If media is doing its duty to inform the public about issues that matter then Hilmarc’s powerpoint presentation and Sen. Cayetano’s cross examination is where its focus should be and not on the sensational testimony of a witness that Binay’s propaganda machine can easily destroy.