Makati,  Roamer's Roundup

Who’s Your Mayor, Makati?

It’s unfortunate to see Makati’s city government being in a state of mess and confusion these past few months. With its former mayor and now Vice President Jejomar Binay headstrong in his intent to capture the presidency in 2016, everything about him is fair game, especially among critics and political rivals, especially with regards to the controversies involving him and his family who have been running the city for almost 30 years now.

Makati’s embattled mayor Junjun Binay with his equally embattled dad, Vice President Jejomar Binay (photo courtesy of Philippine Star)

Take for instance the controversy behind the construction of the Makati City Hall Building 3, which involves his son, the present mayor, Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay. Charges have been filed against him and other city officials for the alleged anomaly in the building’s construction as it was done without proper bidding.

the center of all the controversy, the Makati City Hall Building II

The Ombudsman promptly responded by slapping a 6-month suspension against the mayor, an order Mayor Binay refused to heed thus went to the Court of Appeals to have a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued against it. While it was happening, pro-Binays gathered around the Makati City Hall complex to show their support to the embattled mayor and were treated by Binay in return with some “benefits.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) moved to name an acting mayor to take over the suspended mayor. That man is the vice mayor of the city, Romulo “Kid” Peña, who also happens to be a non-member of the Binay bloc in the city and a member of the ruling Liberal Party.

Vice Mayor Romulo Peña taking oath as acting mayor (photo originally by Joel Leporada for Rappler)

Peña was sworn in on March 16  and took office at the old Makati municipal building for the meantime as Binay was fully entrenched in the city hall complex. However a few hours after Peña’s oathtaking, the Court of Appeals issued a 60-day TRO against the Binay suspension.

This is where things get crazy and confusing, especially in the interpretation of the aforementioned TRO. Binay’s camp maintains that Junjun Binay is still the mayor of the city with the TRO but the Ombudsman and the DILG maintains that the TRO came in already after the suspension so it was too late for the TRO to be enforced, making Peña the city mayor in effect.

the old Makati municipal building serves now as temporary office of Vice Mayor/Acting Mayor Romulo Peña

Thus Makati now has two mayors who both claim authority over the city and doing their roles as mayor while its citizens feeling the confusion as to whose authority to follow. And as the issue drags on, one cannot imagine the effect this will have on the country’s financial center. We can only hope it would not lead to that.

Acknowledgements as well to Rappler, Interaksyon, and GMA News Online

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