MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. has been named as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
President Rodrigo Duterte's chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo confirmed this, saying Abalos is "qualified to succeed -- and capable to continue the good works of -- the late Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim in the said authority."
Lim passed away last week, after he was infected with the novel coronavirus.
Undersecretary Jojo Garcia meanwhile will remain as MMDA General Manager.
Prior to assuming the top MMDA post, Abalos served as the mayor of Mandaluyong City from 1998 to 2004, and from 2007 to 2016. He also served as representative of Mandaluyong City from 2004 to 2007.
His wife, Carmelita, succeeded him as Mandaluyong's chief executive.
"With the exemplary career of Chairman Abalos in public service, he brings with him the benefit of years of experience and wisdom to the bureaucracy," said Panelo.
Abalos' father, Benjamin Abalos, Sr. also chaired the MMDA and was chairman of the Commission on Elections, mayor of Mandaluyong City and a trial judge.
"With public service clearly in his DNA, Chairman Benjie Abalos will surely lead the MMDA to greater heights," said Panelo.
During his stint as Mandaluyong's chief executive, Abalos implemented a ban on "riding-in-tandem" motorcyclists in 2014 as a crime prevention measure.
Males were banned from backriding on motorcycles, unless they were immediate family members or law enforcers.
A user of motorcycle ride-hailing company Angkas challenged the Mandaluyong ordinance before the court in 2019.