Was Abby Binay kicked out of her Makati city hall office?
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The doors to the field office of Makati Second District Representative Abigail “Abby” Binay, located on the 18th floor of the main city hall building, were closed for business on Tuesday afternoon, November 10.
From the windows along the hallway, one could see that the office was unlit and its tables, empty. There were no employees in sight.
Binay alleged on Tuesday that the administration of acting Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña, who will be one of her opponents for city mayor in 2016, ordered the closure of her field office last week because Peña will be using it.
“Prior to that, employees detailed to the office received memos recalling them back to their mother unit. In effect, the acting leadership at city hall has shut down my office,” Binay said in a text message sent to Rappler on Tuesday, through Joey Salgado, a spokesman of her father, Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The lawmaker called the supposed eviction of her city hall office as a “display of pettiness and bullying” that “unmasks the lie behind the claim of the acting Makati leadership of good governance.”
“What they represent is narrow and vindictive politics that places pettiness above the public interest,” she added. (READ: Abby Binay: Running for mayor a ‘big sacrifice’)
Councilor Leo Magpantay, an ally of the Binays, became acting vice mayor as he received the highest number of votes among the city council candidates in 2013.
The Binays and Peña have been at odds in the past months. The Binay camp claims that Peña has grabbed credit for several projects implemented under Junjun Binay's watch.
Peña has denied the claim, saying he does not consider the Binays as his enemies.
However, several members of his 2016 slate are known political rivals of the Binay family. His vice mayoral candidate, Karla Mercado, is the daughter of former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, the primary whistleblower in the Senate hearings on corruption allegations against the Vice President when he was still Makati mayor. (TIMELINE: Binay’s plunder case, one year after)
At the expense of public service?
According to Binay, removing her field office in city hall will now make it difficult for her constituents in the second district to raise their concerns to her.
“Dahil sa pagsasara ng tanggapang ito, inalisan sila ng liderato ng city hall ng pagkakataon na dumulog at mapaglingkuran (Because of shutting down by office, he leadership in city hall denied my constituents a chance to seek help from, and be served by, my office),” said Binay.
She said the alleged move of Peña’s camp shows that he may have forgotten the true meaning of public service.
“Simple lang ang gusto nilang sabihin: Hindi bagong Makati ang kanilang isinusulong kundi sila ang bagong hari. Sa kanilang ginawa, nakalimutan nila na ang diwa ng public service ay hindi ang partido o pangalan kundi ang paglilingkod sa mga taga-Makati,” Binay said, referring to Peña’s promise of a “bagong (new) Makati” should he win the mayoral post.
(What they want to say is simple: They’re not pushing for a new Makati but rather, they just want to be the new kings. Because of what they did, they have forgotten that the true meaning of public service is not about one’s party or name but about being of service to the people in Makati.)
Binay added that she will continue to serve the people of Makati “as we have done for the past 9 years.”
“We will not be deterred by pettiness and bullying,” she added.
‘Maximize’ District 2 office instead
Gilbert delos Reyes, Peña’s spokesperson, denied that the acting mayor closed down Binay’s field office.
“As far as we know, voluntarily nila vinacate ‘yung opisina. ‘Di ko na ma-recall kung kailan (As far as we know, they voluntarily vacated the office. I can’t recall exactly when),” Delos Reyes said.
This was echoed by Peña, who told Rappler in a phone interview that city hall workers employed in particular units may be assigned to work in another office if their services are needed.
Peña added, “Sa totoo lang, wala naman akong empleyadong tinanggal (In truth, I did not remove any city hall employees)."
Rappler also learned from some staff members of Magpantay that they have not been issued an official order to transfer offices yet.
But they said they will likely move to the 9th floor of the Makati City Hall Parking Building II, where an office has been prepared for Magpantay following his designation as acting vice mayor.
Magpantay's office, though already bearing a sign with his name on it, remains unoccupied.
Delos Reyes also said Binay should not insist that her second district constituents have lost an avenue to raise their concerns, because she already has an office in District 2.
Binay has two more offices – at the House of Representatives, and another along Kalayaan Avenue in Guadalupe Nuevo, District 2 of Makati. Delos Reyes noted that city hall is in District 1, or outside the lawmaker's district.
“Pinipilit niyang mahihirapan ‘yung tao. Nasaan ang location ng city hall? Nasa District 1 (She’s saying that the residents would find it difficult. Where is the city hall located? In District 1),” he said.
“Meron naman pala siyang [satellite office sa District 2]. I-maximize na lang niya ‘yung satellite office (She already has a satellite office in District 2. She should just maximize that)," Delos Reyes added.
Sought for comment on the statements of Peña's camp, Salgado said on Tuesday evening that Binay "stands by her statement." – Rappler.com
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