by Saleema Refran on GMA-7’s “24 Oras”
One of the places being considered for the office of Vice President-elect Leni Robredo is the then controversial “Boracay Mansion” in Quezon City.
Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte has been helping Robredo look for office space for the Office of the Vice President (OVP).
She suggested “Boracay Mansion,” which is used as a special reception house of the Quezon City local government for foreign dignitaries.
“Tinulungan ko siya maghanap ng mga lugar. Marami rin kaming na-identify na pwede niyang gawing tanggapan pero isa sa mga naisip ko na tingin ko talagang bagay sa kanya, iyong executive house ng Quezon City,” Belmonte explained.
The mansion located in New Manila used to be linked to former President and reelected Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada as one of his alleged properties.
The house was named “Boracay Mansion” got its name from the artificial white sand surrounding a swimming pool that is reminiscent of the sand along the beaches in Boracay island in the province of Aklan.
The Quezon City government bought the property and Mayor Herbert Bautista constructed a two-storey building.
The cost of the rent for the property is yet to be decided.
Robredo had previously expressed that she does not want an office that is too expensive. She decided not to stay at the Coconut Palace in Pasay City, saying that it is too ostentatious for her.
The OVP, under Vice President Jejomar Binay, shells out a rental fee of P484,000 every month. The OVP also uses the nearby PNB Building, which has a rental fee of P213,000, for Binay’s administrative, operations, and finance staff.
Usec. Benjie Martinez, VP Binay’s chief of staff, said Robredo can still use the office at the PNB Building until the end of the year.
For Robredo’s transition team, the priority is to find a place where she can hold office as soon as possible.
“Our priority now–given the time still available to us–is to find a suitable location at the soonest possible time so that we can arrange for it to be her office as much as possible starting after taking her oath,” Robredo’s transition team head Boyet Dy said.
Martinez turned over the status report of the OVP to the transition team of Robredo, which contains the accomplishments, pending projects and unused budget wherein only P78 million out of the P500-million budget of the OVP was used this year. — Trisha Macas/BAP, GMA News
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