Peña claims Makati ‘mission accomplished’
Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. will now go back to his post following a month-long legal battle for control of the city against the incumbent Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay.
Peña said he would step down after the Office of the Ombudsman through the Department of Interior and Local Government directed him on Tuesday to resume his duties as vice of mayor.
Peña added he already notified Binay and members of the city council that he was going back to his post as vice mayor and as city council’s presiding officer.
“Sa isang banda, mission accomplished po ako,” he said.
Peña’s announcement came after the warning made by city councilors that he might face sanctions over his absences from the meetings of the Makati City council.
Makati Councilor Alethea Casal-Uy said earlier the council would soon decide if it would push through with the probe of Peña’s absences in accordance with the rules as well as the Local Government Code.
She said the rules say that if a member of the council has incurred at least four absences, he or she may be fined, suspended or even removed from office.
Peña returned unsigned two checks to the Treasury Department, one amounting to P927,545.20 for the salaries and allowances of councilors and staff, and the other for P144,500 in allowances for councilors.
He also refused to sign the payroll for the salaries of officials and personnel covering April 1 to April 15, which amounts to P620,410.90.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Peña assured the councilors he would immediately sign all pending documents relative to his work as council’s presiding officer, including the payroll of the employees.
Peña took over as acting mayor of Makati on March 16 after the DILG served the six-month preventive suspension order issued by the Ombudsman on March 10 against Binay in connection with its probe on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II.
But the camp of Binay was able to secure a temporary restraining order from the Court of Appeals, also on March 16, preventing the Ombudsman and the DILG from carrying out the suspension order against the mayor.
The leadership dispute created confusion among city residents and businessmen, while disrupting the delivery of services as department heads and members of the city council refused to honor the memos signed and issued by Peña.
The standoff also resulted in the delay of the release of salaries of city councilors and their staff as the vice mayor refused to sign payrolls and checks for the salaries of Sanggunian Panglungsod employees and councilors for the months of March and April, insisting that as acting mayor, it was no longer part of his duties.