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The ‘mystery man’ behind Binay

/ 01:22 AM October 24, 2014

Vice President Jejomar Binay has been accused by his former associates, in their testimonies in the Senate, of using dummies to hide his immense wealth derived from kickbacks from Makati infrastructure projects. One of them, businessman Antonio Tiu, appeared last Wednesday at the Senate to claim ownership of the alleged Binay hacienda in Rosario, Batangas, but admitted that he had no title to the property—yet. Other alleged dummies, subpoenaed by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the corruption charges against Binay, have chosen to remain silent.

Somewhere out there is a man who knew how to parlay a personal friendship into a multimillion-peso nest egg. This man continues to make himself scarce to elude the subpoena-servers of the Senate subcommittee, whose inquiry into the corruption scandal has gripped the nation for the past two months.

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So elusive has the man been that Sen. Koko Pimentel, who chairs the subcommittee, could only scratch his head when the crew he sent out to deliver the panel’s invitation came back empty-handed.

The man is not your average snake-oil salesman. He comes with some pedigree and respectable academic credentials.

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He is Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan Jr., son of a former governor of Pampanga. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila in 1961 after graduating from Ateneo High School in 1957. That’s at least eight years of Jesuit education.

Not much is known about Limlingan’s early job experience before he joined the Binay campaign in the 2010 presidential election. During that campaign, he had his proverbial 15 minutes of fame when he was wounded in an ambush. He was then Binay’s campaign manager and finance officer.

To illustrate Limlingan’s closeness to Binay, the latter issued a statement after the failed ambush: “Gerry Limlingan is a very dear family friend. The attempt on his life is a despicable act that deserves condemnation.”

Since that time until 2013, Limlingan had, according to testimonies at the Senate, managed to bag more than P1.3 billion in contracts with the Makati City government for security and janitorial services. This amount does not cover the previous years when Omni Investigation and General Services Inc., a company organized in 1999, virtually gobbled up security and janitorial services bid out by the city government when Binay, and subsequently, his wife Elenita, were the mayors, according to a report by Rappler.

The company has since been split into two—Omni Security Investigation (for security), and Corporate Solutions Manpower and General Services Inc. (for janitorial services). Both firms, however, have the same address and contact numbers, based on their submissions to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Limlingan’s ties to the embattled Binay surfaced during the Senate hearing when former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado claimed that he had delivered to Limlingan money representing Binay’s kickbacks from city government projects.

That prompted the invitation to Limlingan from the subcommittee.

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The Rappler report said Omni Security’s current chair is Marguerite E. Lichnock, identified as Limlingan’s wife. Other officials in the company are also said to be identified with the Binays.

Omni Security’s sister company, Corporate Solutions, incorporated in June 2012, has the same set of incorporators, with the exception of Lichnock. Corporate Solutions lists Limlingan as chair and president.

From a fledgling company a scant four years ago, Omni Security Investigation and General Services has transformed itself into a major supplier of the Makati government. From 2010 to 2014, the firm was awarded contracts worth a total of P1.321 billion. This included the contracts after the company was split into two.

Limlingan was tagged by Mercado in his testimony as a “bagman” of then Mayor Binay. Mercado claimed at the Senate hearing that Limlingan acted as a dummy of Binay in businesses and properties not declared in Binay’s statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. These allegedly include Agri-Fortuna Inc., the company that supposedly bought Binay’s piggery business in Rosario, Batangas.

In his testimony before the Senate subcommittee, Mercado claimed that two companies—Omni Security Investigation and

Meriras Realty and Development Corp.—were used as “dummies” by Binay. Limlingan is the managing director of Meriras, and is also president of Binay’s foundation, JCB Foundation.

Omni Security was the No. 2 contractor/awardee of the Makati government from 2009 to 2014.

The top spot belongs to Hilmarc’s Construction (with P3.7 billion in contracts). Hilmarc’s is the firm currently on the carpet for its role in the construction of the allegedly overpriced Makati parking building.

* * *

Two outstanding musical events will open on Oct. 29 at two 5-star hotels in Metro Manila. One is Aliw Awardee

Margaux Salcedo singing favorite love songs at the Tap Room of the Manila Hotel. The other is the Tiongco Brothers singing old favorites at Bistro RJ at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.

The Tiongco Brothers are among the oldest singers in the Philippines. (The standing joke is that they were perhaps already singing when Magellan first landed in Mactan.) The name of their show: “Nandito Pa Kami” (We’re still here).

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TAGS: Antonio Tiu, Binay hacienda, Gerardo “Gerry” Limlingan Jr., Graft and Corruption, Jejomar Binay
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