Acting mayor Kid Peña: Back to business in Makati

Acting mayor Kid Peña: Back to business in Makati
Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña says he will hold muti-sectoral dialogues to hear concerns and suggestions to improve city services

MANILA, Philippines – Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña on Wednesday, July 1, vowed to restore normalcy in Metro Manila’s financial capital after days of tension over the suspension of controversial city mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.

Peña made the vow hours after Binay temporarily stepped down from his post while he waited for the Court of Appeals to rule on his petition for a temporary restraining order on the Ombudsman’s suspension order.

In a press conference held at the first floor of the Makati City Hall Building II, Peña said he is set to meet with department heads and other city officials to resume government services as soon as possible.

“To all sectors of society in the city, you can be assured of ongoing service,” he said.

“In the following weeks, I will hold a dialogue with businessmen, religious groups, non-governmental organizations, and other sectors to hear your concerns and suggestions to better improve the city’s services,” he added, to cheers from his supporters.

Peña said he will do his best to bring city operations back to normal, even as the main city hall building remained closed following a directive from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Asked who will assume the post of acting vice mayor, Peña said he has sent a letter to Makati city councilor Virgilio Hilario Sr.

Around 7:30 am on Wednesday, police put the building on lockdown after receiving reports of a security threat, angering city hall employees who complained about missing work.

Peña was supposed to hold his press conference at the 21st floor of the city hall, where Binay’s office is located, but later said that aside from the lack of clearance for entering the building, he said he didn’t want to appear too eager to assume the mayor’s post.

Si Mayor Junjun ay suspendido, hindi ko pwedeng galawin ang kanyang opisina. Marahil mag-uusap kami kung paano gagawin. Ako ay pipili ng opisina, pero ang gusto kong opisina ay iyong pagbungad pa lamang at pagpasok ng tao sa city hall ay kita kaagad ang pawis na pawis kong mukha,” he said, when asked what office he would use.

(Mayor Junjun Binay is suspended. I can’t use his office. Perhaps, he and I will discuss what should be done. I will choose an office, but the office I prefer is one that would show me hard at work to those entering city hall.)

Peña took his oath as acting mayor on Tuesday, a day after the Ombudsman slapped Binay and 14 others with a 6-month preventive suspension order over the alleged rigging of bids for the Makati Science High School building.

This is the second time that Peña has been sworn in as acting mayor. The first was in March but his claim to the top post was contested after Binay managed to get a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals shortly after Peña’s oath-taking.

Back to normal

Peña said he has already directed all local officials and employees to recognize him as acting mayor and refer all official documents to him.

Asked about his relationship with the city council, Peña expressed confidence that the councillors will be “reasonable” and consider working with him for the good of the city. 

During the first leadership standoff in March, some city councillors earlier said they would not recognize Peña’s new position.

Alam ko naman halos lahat ng konsehal ngayon ay praktikal at maiisip nila na ito ay pansamantalang pinagdadaanan ng lungsod ng Makati. Sila po ay pare-parehong nahalal para pangalagaan ang kapakanan ng Makati. Kung alam naman nilang risonable ang isang bagay, hindi po sila pwedeng tumanggi dahil ito ay para sa mga taga-Makati,” Peña said.

(I know that most of the councillors now are practical, and they will see that this is only a temporary situation for Makati. They are all elected to work for the good of the city. If they realize that this is reasonable, they cannot refuse because this is for the people of Makati.)

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