This Makati mess

8

I’M not a resident of Makati. Neither do I work there.

Once long ago I was on the payroll of the Makati City Hall because I was a teacher at the University of Makati, where (at least at the time) teachers were considered city hall employees.

That is only relevant now because I feel for the Makati employees whose salaries are on hold, what with two men functioning as mayor. It is relevant because one knows that this is all political. It is borne of some grand scheme that has nothing to do with the people of Makati, or the employees of the city hall.

I remember how miserable it was when as teachers of UMak we would be the last to receive our salaries. That is, after the city hall had released the salaries of its office employees, and whoever else was on the payroll. I remember how so many of my co-teachers would end up going into debt – with interest of course – to tide them over while waiting for our salaries to come in. We never knew why salaries were delayed, and there was rarely an explanation. It was like no one really cared about how we might survive without it.


Imagine how miserable it is now for Makati City Hall employees.

The (in)visible hand
This crisis has been blamed on the anti-Binay forces in government, and obviously so.

This is not to absolve Vice President Jejomar Binay of those corruption charges, as it is to ask: what does Mayor Junjun Binay have to do with the Makati Parking Building? That’s a building that began construction in 2007. Junjun became Mayor of the city in 2010. At the very least, you give him the benefit of the doubt; at most, you work with the chronology of events and find that he can’t be the one most culpable.

He and his sisters have said it time and again: this is merely a demolition job against the Binay name, and only the Vice President’s chief rival in the 2016 elections has the power to make it happen. That is, this is all a scheme of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas, as it is nothing but the Liberal Party throwing its weight around.

It is difficult to believe that this is not political. We also know that probably because it is so, it does not care for the people who might be affected by this crisis of two mayors.

What else is new.

Two mayors
On March 16, Vice Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña was sworn in as acting mayor of Makati. On the same day, Mayor Junjun Binay got a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Department of Justice, the Ombudsman, the DILG all stand behind Peña, and ask that Binay accept the suspension order. Binay has filed a complaint with the Court of Appeals asking that it cite DILG and Secretary Roxas in contempt for ignoring the TRO. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima says that the TRO is “moot and academic” because Peña was sworn in ahead of its issuance. All three government offices believe that Binay should just acknowledge Peña as acting mayor of Makati.

Because Peña in fact is acting as mayor. He’s held his own rituals as head of the city, his signature is the one to be recognized by the Land Bank of the Philippines, he did the rounds of Makati and re-introduced himself to the people. He has the power to choose the heads of the city departments – all of whom were suspended with Mayor Binay. With the Departments of Justice and Interior on his side, the acting mayor is all set to take over and work towards a smooth transition.

But of course the people of Makati just aren’t that lucky.

One Binay
Mayor Junjun Binay has decided he will not leave the Makati City Hall. He questioned his suspension, as expected, but he also surprisingly decided to live in Makati City Hall. He seems set on staying for as long as it takes.

He sees nothing wrong with this and declares that things are normal in the city hall. That is, despite that crowd of people who stand guard outside; that is, because he is doing his duties as Mayor of the city, the offices are functioning as expected.

On TV what we see are images: the Mayor’s daughter celebrating her birthday in the city hall, Senator Nancy leading the flag ceremonies with the Mayor, Mayor Binay signing some agreement or other with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

What the Mayor is banking on of course is the loyalty of his people, within and beyond the city hall. After all, if everyone ignores the acting mayor, how can he function as anything at all?

Yet what Mayor Binay is ignoring is the people and employees of Makati, who can only suffer under the weight of this crisis.

Because he could actually choose to be the bigger man here. He can accept the suspension and leave city hall. He can just watch the acting mayor struggle with a city hall divided by its loyalties. Mayor Binay can call it a day and go home, and prep for 2016. After all, that’s just a little more than a year away, and while the acting mayor might raise his chances of winning as Mayor then, under such public scrutiny, and with the Binays waiting for him to fail, how can Peña not?

Then it will be a battle of words and propaganda. And the Binays and Peña can go to town with it, for all I care. At least then the employees of Makati, the ones earning an honest living, will get their salaries on time. Sometimes, given all this politicking, we fall back on bare minimum. With 2016 so close, that might be enough.

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8 Comments

  1. Ben dela Cruz on

    Time and again the binays’ have been shown their influence and power, money talks it’s that simple!

  2. Hey… suspended Mayor Binay should order Makati treasurer to lend P50,000-a-month to all Makati employees who are not able to receive their paychecks. At interest rate of 3%-a-month or less.

  3. A few of you have said all this is against binay senior. Some of you say binay junior has nothing to do with this. Well i say you have to obey the law & after if you find the onmbudsman & any other agencies involved in getting binay suspended were negligent or totaly without basis they should be held accountable. Surely the ombudsman wouldnt suspend someone without seeing evidence & that evidence to be credible, if they do or did they should be held criminally liable.
    Then punnish them with a long jail sentence, this will ensure all officals have to obey the law, they have to know no one is above the law & that you cant hound someone for a personal reason.

    • Ómbudsman is removable only by impeachment. Those who invite her attention and suspended have no recourse but the courts. Tough luck for them. If the power of the office is being used without color of politics that is good but if it is not then it diminishes the prestige of the office.

  4. If someone like to demolished the binays then surely this is a wrong venue. They are elected by the majority and should not be crucified this. Any wrong doing must be a court jurisdiction and not a polical agenda to further enhance other personal goals.

    • ernesto albay on

      what do you think demolition job. ombudsman found a PROBABLE CAUSE of her action. Now they had serve the suspension order and swornan OFFICIAL to take over the position…. TRO had nothing to do anymore because the suspension was effective immediately…TRO was late, court of appeals made it late so as to PLEASE the BINAYS that they did not BETRAYED them…

  5. Huh? I thought you will give your analysis on who is right and who is not. Obviously, the people of Makati is the victim here. But the one at fault should be the one to give in.

  6. Too bad for Mr. and Mrs. Juan dela Cruz, hostage to the powerplays of the oligarchy who will do everything to hand on to power.

    In the year 2015, where do we go from here, certainly not forward and upward.