MANILA, Philippines – On his first day in office as the uncontested acting mayor of Makati City, Romulo Peña appealed to city hall employees to be professional public servants and work with him to restore normalcy in the city’s operations.
Makati government operations – hampered by tension over the suspension order against Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr – resumed with the reopening of city hall early Thursday, July 2.
Some employees, particularly those from the 21st floor where Binay’s office is located, were notably absent.
As one of his first orders as acting mayor, Peña said he will ask the human resources department to conduct a headcount and submit to him a list of employees who showed up for work that day.
While he dismissed suggestions that the absent employees were deliberately ignoring his authority, Peña appealed for professionalism and called on all employees to be loyal to the city government, and not to just “one official,” apparently referring to Binay.
“We are all employees of the city government of Makati. We are not employees of one official, but of the government, so we should go to work,” he said.
“Kailangan maging professional tayo. Huwag nilang isipin na ang pamamalagi ko dito is for me to take revenge. Ginagawa ko lang ang pagiging acting mayor,” he added. (We need to be professional. They shouldn’t think that I’m out to take revenge. I’m just performing my functions as acting mayor.)
As a gesture of his intention to be closer to employees and Makati residents, Peña set up his office – a simple desk and a chair – at the lobby of the building.
He also went around several departments to greet employees and check on the status of government transactions.
A running theme in his messages was his emphasis on the temporary nature of the situation and his appeal for employees to cooperate.
“Ang kagustuhan ko po habang may preventive suspension ang ating punong lungsod ay makagawa ng bagay na lalong magpapaindayog ng ating serbisyo,” he said in a message to city hall employees over the public address system.
“I don’t have any desire to take revenge or cause harm to anyone,” he added.
Peña also held his first command conference with Makati police. He is also set to meet with department heads and hold multi-sectoral dialogues to hear concerns and suggestions to improve city services.
Metro Manila’s financial capital saw days of political tension over the suspension of Binay, who temporarily stepped down on Wednesday.
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 was 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. – Rappler.com