- Senator Binay posted on her Facebook account on Saturday that she saw Mercado coming out of a casino
- Mercado was once a close political ally of Vice President Binay
- Mercado said he doesn’t wish to glorify the senator’s allegations
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay claimed spotting Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado in a casino in Clark, Pampanga with bodyguards in tow on Saturday.
An article by Christine O. Avandaño for the Inquirer published on March 7 said that Senator Binay posted on her Facebook account on Saturday afternoon that she saw Mercado coming out of the casino “surrounded by bodyguards.”
The former Makati City Vice Mayor is presently under government protection for being a state witness after testifying on the alleged anomalies involving the Binay family. Senator Binay is the eldest daughter of opposition standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Mercado was once a close political ally of Vice President Binay; so close he was once promised to be given the chance to succeed Binay as the city’s mayor of Makati. However, the two had a falling out before the 2010 elections, and Mercado ran for mayor but lost to Binay’s son and namesake, Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr.
Mercado, together with former Makati councilor and barangay captain Renato Bondal, revealed the Binay family’s alleged irregularities in Makati City before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee. Both Mercado and Bondal are placed under the government’s Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Program.
GMA News mentioned in an article published on March 5 that a source said Senator Binay was part of the advance party of the United Nationalist Alliance that went to Pampanga on Saturday.
Vice President Binay, who is running for President, will be having a campaign rally in Pampanga and the senator traveled in advance to check the area. The source added that the senator saw Mercado at around 4 p.m.
“Hindi nakita ni Cado si Senator Nancy pero malamang may nagsabi na sa kaniya na nakita siya ni Nancy,” the source said.
[“Cado (Mercado) didn’t see Senator Nancy but probably someone had told him he was seen by Nancy.”)
The lady senator lamented in her post that the government is wasting taxpayer’s money by allowing a protected state witness go to casinos.
Meanwhile, Mercado said via GMA News Online that he has no wish “to glorify the senator’s allegations” and was quoted as saying: “Ayoko na siyang patulan. Wala akong pakialam kay Nancy Binay.”
[“I’d rather not deal with her. I have no cares for Nancy Binay.”]
Meanwhile, an article by GMA News published on March 6 said that former Candaba Pampanga mayor Jerry Pelayo corroborated Senator Binay’s claim that Mercado was in a casino at Clark.
“Totoo, nakita ko siya … sa casino [sa] Widus,” a transcript of an “ambush” interview of Pelayo said.
[“It’s true, I saw him (Mercado), in the casino at Widus.]”
The transcript of Pelayo’s interview was distributed on Sunday by the media bureau of the United Nationalist Alliance.
Pelayo is seemingly talking about the Widus Hotel and Casino in Clark, Pampanga which offers 52 gaming tables and 250 slot machines in a 3,000 square meter gaming area.