FAST FACTS: Acting Makati City mayor Romulo "Kid" Peña Jr
MANILA, Philippines – If the odds went in his favor, Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo "Kid" Valderama Peña Jr will be the city's first non-Binay mayor since the influential political family ruled in 1986.
Peña took over as acting mayor on Monday, March 16, after Mayor Jejomar Erwin "Junjun" Binay Jr was served an already-anticipated suspension order. Binay, however, was able to obtain a temporary restraining order, causing some confusion over who should really be considered city mayor.
Peña insists on performing his duties as acting mayor notwithstanding the confusion.
Prior to being named acting mayor, Peña was on his second term as vice mayor after winning in 2013 under the Liberal Party (LP). He also sits as director in the board of the vice mayors' league in the National Capital Region.
He joined the LP just 9 months before the 2013 elections. He was an independent candidate when he first ran for vice mayor in 2010, and was named guest running candidate of Ernesto Mercado (who ran under the Nacionalista Party). Mercado lost to Binay.
While in office, Peña was sued in 2010 by lawyer Ana Luz Cristal, former city council secretary, who accused him of "grave abuse of authority and discretion" after he reportedly dismissed her from her post.
Before winning as vice mayor, he spent his early political years in barangay Valenzuela in Makati City. He was councilor from 1994 to 1997 and 2002 to 2005, then was chairman from 2005 to 2010.
While serving as barangay chairman, he also worked as:
- President, Liga ng mga Barangay sa Makati (2007-2010)
- Member of the Board of Directors, Liga ng mga Barangay National (2007-2010)
- Treasurer, Liga ng mga Barangay-NCR (2008-2010)
His profile page states he earned "units in Political Science from Adamson University," though he was named an outstanding alumni awardee (with a A.B. Political Science/Economics degree) during the university's 80th grand alumni homecoming.
He also earned a degree in Managerial Economics from the International Academy of Management and Economics.
Peña is a member of the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity.
In the profile page of a blog Peña owns, "motorcycles" is listed as among his interests. His other interests include mountain bikes, guns, martial arts, and fast cars.
He even heads a motorbike group named "Tropang Kid," with headquarters in barangay Valenzuela.
He was seen on Wednesday arriving at the old Makati City Hall on a motorbike to check the office he was supposed to occupy as officer-in-charge of the city. He was also reported to be visiting various barangays on his motorbike.
Reports say that Peña ran and won as barangay captain under Binay's party, but decided to leave in 2010.
During the Senate hearing on the overpriced city hall building, Peña clarified that he is not allied with Binay, and revealed he doesn't have access to documents that would help in monitoring projects in the city.
Binay, however, implicated Peña in the issue. He said Peña, then a barangay chairman, was among those who sponsored city ordinance 2008-035, which covered additional appropriations for the city hall building construction. – Rappler.com