By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
MANILA, July 1 (PNA) — Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas on Wednesday expressed gratitude to Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Jun Jun” Binay for stepping down from his post following the Office of the Ombudsman’s suspension order.
“Nagpapasalamat ako kay Mayor Jun Jun Binay sa pagtugon sa aming panawagan na sundin ang batas,” Roxas said in a statement send to Philippines News Agency (PNA) through text message.
He also said that law prevailed and the city government would be back on its normal operation to provide services for the residents of Makati.
“Masaya ako nanaig at nangibabaw ang batas sa araw na ito. Makakaasa kayo na magbabalik sa normal operation ng Makati City Hall na ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa mamamayan ng Makati,” the DILG Chief added.
Around 9:30 a.m., Binay face his supporters at the city hall quadrangle as he announced to leave his post temporarily as he waits the Court of Appeals decision to hold in abeyance its action on his petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on his suspension order.
“Kahit labag sa aking puso, ako ay pansamantalang lilisan sa ating city hall. Tayo po ay nagfile ng ating petition sa Court of Appeals para po tayo ay makakuha ng TRO at ng writ of prelim injunction. Tayo po ay nagfile para pigilan ang kagustuhan ng Ombudsman na tayo ay mabigyan ng isang preventive suspension. Kaninang umaga ay nakakuha po kami ng impormasyon na binibigyan po ng Ombudsman ng sampung araw para magpaliwanag o sumagot sa CA. This means, hindi pa tayo nabibigyan ng TRO or writ of prelim injunction pero hindi pa naman dinedeny ng CA ang ating hiling. Dahil hindi ko na po kayang tiisin na meron pa hong masaktan , hindi ko po kayang tiisin na tayo ay binibigyan ng karahasan sa ating lungsod, na ang mga mamamayan natin ay naaabala,” Binay told his supporters, who was with his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, on stage at the city hall quadrangle on Wednesday.
Over the past two days, his supporters had clashed with police as they attempted to enter the city hall building. When officials of the interior department posted Binay’s suspension order Tuesday morning, the mayor’s supporters threw chairs and bottles in a bid to stop them.
Binay said he would have to await the CA ruling on his petition against his second suspension order, which he filed on Monday – the same day the Ombudsman ordered his suspension over graft allegations in connection with the alleged overpriced Makati Science High School building.
He remained defiant, however, and urged his supporters to “continue the fight.”
“Hindi dito natatapos ang laban natin. Hindi namin kayo iiwan. Masakit man, kailangan nating gawin,” the suspended mayor said.
Renato Bondal, who ran but lost to Mayor Binay in the 2013 polls, led the filing of the criminal charges with the Office of the Ombudsman December last year.
Bondal accused the incumbent mayor and his father Vice President Jejomar Binay of conspiring to defraud the local government of Makati City of Php 862 million in the construction of the 10-story school building when the elder Binay was still mayor of the city and when his son took over from 2007 to 2013.
The complaint stated that the project was built at the cost of Php 1.3 billion when the original estimate cost was only Php 470 million.
Bondal, in July last year, was also one of the complainants who filed with the Ombudsman plunder case against Makati City officials for the alleged overprice of City Hall Building II that resulted in the issuance of first suspension order against Mayor Binay and other city government officials. (PNA)