MANILA – Acting Makati Mayor Romulo Peña said he has a big task ahead of him as he takes over the seat of suspended Mayor Junjun Binay.
Peña said he might find it hard to replace the Binay family in the hearts and consciousness of the Makati people, but he said he will try to match this with quality work.
''Matagal pong nasa ilalim ng mga Binay ang Makati. Isang malaking hamon sa akin iyon,'' he said.
''Pinaka-mabigat 'yung haba ng paninilbihan nila. Sa akin po, iyun na lang quality, kung gaano man katagal ang aking paninilbihan."
Peña was sworn in as acting mayor on Tuesday, after the suspension order was served at the city hall.
He said he will work in the coming days to bring city hall operations back to normal, as government transactions in the city were put to a halt earlier this week after Binay's supporters camped out in front of the city hall.
Tension erupted Tuesday between police and Binay supporters when Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) personnel arrived to serve the suspension order.
Peña said he will not discontinue the good projects of Binay just for the sake of stopping them.
''Ang pinaka-maganda roon, ang lagi mong gusto eh 'di higitan kundi makahanap ng mas magandang paraan para sa mga proyekto sa Makati,'' he said.
Peña said he will make sure that better services will reach the people of Makati, even if some were initiated by the Binays.
''Tuloy-tuloy pa. Ang kaibahan, eh pipilitin naming ma-doble ang mga benepisyo,'' he said.
Peña also assured the city's poorest that he will strive to improve their lives.
''Marami pa rin sa lungsod na nandoon sa kanilang tahanan ang naghihintay pa rin ng serbisyo. Ako po ay tumitingin dyan at iyan ang pinaka-prayoridad ko para mapuntahan silang lahat at maipakita na bagamat kilalang kilala ang Makati sa pagiging progresibo, marami pa rin ang nangangailangan ng tulong,'' he said.
Binay decided to leave the city hall on Wednesday morning, even as the appellate court has yet to act on his petition against the suspension.
Instead of acting on Binay's petition, the CA ordered the Office of the Ombudsman and the DILG to comment on the mayor's petition.
The Ombudsman and the DILG were given 10 days to respond. After this, Binay's camp will have 5 days to reply.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Peña welcomed the move, even if the suspended mayor said his departure from the city hall does not mean the end of his fight.