MANILA, Philippines - Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Peña wrote Interior Secretary Mar Roxas yesterday, asking for the clarification of his status as the city’s “acting mayor.”
He wrote the letter in the wake of a decision by the Court of Appeals (CA) to issue a writ of preliminary injunction last April 8, indefinitely stopping the enforcement of a preventive suspension order by the Office of Ombudsman on Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.
In his two-page letter, Peña asked Roxas for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) directive. He stressed he is not a party to the case and has not received any official notices from the CA.
Peña said he became acting mayor last March 16 when the DILG served the ombudsman’s March 10 joint order, which placed Binay and other city officials under preventive suspension while under investigation for the alleged anomalies in the construction of a city hall parking building.
According to Peña, the DILG should clarify his status since the CA issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) assailing the validity of the ombudsman’s order on the same day he was sworn in as acting mayor.
In a text message to reporters, Peña said he is willing to step down and resume his duties as vice mayor – but only if he is ordered by the DILG.
DILG media officer Babes Suva said the agency will have to wait for an order from the Office of the Ombudsman before it can issue any clarification or directive on Peña’s status.
The ombudsman has filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court that questioned the CA’s TRO. The SC has set oral arguments on the petition on April 14.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, meanwhile, said Peña should “abide by the CA order for the meantime, while the SC is hearing the petition of the ombudsman.” – With Edu Punay
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