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Makati councilors no-show in flag raising rites


(Updated 2:12 p.m.) Members of the Makati City Council were no-show during the first flag-raising ceremony led by acting City Mayor Romulo "Kid" Peña Jr. Monday, but were in full force during the birthday celebration of suspended Mayor Junjun Binay over the weekend.
 
Councilor Mayeth Casal-Uy said all 17 councilors as well as newly appointed acting Vice Mayor Leo Magpantay, and barangay captains were in attendance at Binay's celebration Saturday. The suspended mayor turned 38 the following day, July 12.
 
As to the flag-raising ceremony, Uy claimed they were not invited by Peña.
 
Uy also took note of how Peña obliged employees to attend the ceremony to the point of closing the main entrance of the city hall.
 
"Number one, we were not invited. Number two, we are all so busy with Vice Mayor Leo's oath taking," she said referring to Magpantay who took his oath before Presiding Judge Ronaldo Moreno at Branch 147 of the Makati Regional Trial Court.
 
Most of the councilors were present at Magpantay's oath taking, which was closed to the media.
 
Magpantay said they are not obliged to talk to Peña because they have different duties to fulfill.
 
"The Office of the Mayor is a separate body from [the] Sangguniang Panglungsod so independent body ang konseho. At kami ay gumagawa ng batas, resolution and ordinances at nag-appropriate ng pondo so magkaiba kami," he told reporters.

Peña, for his part, said there is no need to send out invitations to members of the city council because "all employees are entitled to attend." 
 
"Pero kung kinakailangan, magpapadala ako ng memorandum sa kanila sa susunod na ceremony. Depende pa rin sa kanila kung a-attend sila. Naiintindihan ko sentiment nila, loyal sila kay Mayor Junjun. Basta ako, magtatrabaho lang," he said in a phone interview. 

Additional benefits

During the flag ceremony, Peña promised to improve benefits not only for the city's senior citizens but to the employees as well.

Peña, the sole administration ally among the local government officials in Makati, said he will propose to the city council to double the pension received by senior citizens.
 
He said the city government will also implement a "free medicine, free delivery" program for seniors so as to avoid any inconvenience on the part of the elderly Makati residents.
 
"Pero aalamin muna ang totoong bilang kasi meron daw ghost senior citizens," he added.
 
Peña also said that he will work on providing free insurance coverage to employees of the city hall as well as barangay officials.
 
Reacting to the mayor's pronouncements, both Uy and Magpantay clarified this is not an initiative of the acting mayor.
 
In fact, Magpantay said the city council has already approved the proposal on second reading before Binay was ordered suspended.
 
Uy said the city council will be open to all of Pena's proposals if these will benefit the residents of Makati.
 
"If the reforms really are for the good of the people, why not? Pero kung pang-PR lang, I don't think that's good anymore kasi lahat ng reporma at binibigay ni Mayor Jun Binay ay akma sa batas at kaya ng budget namin," she said.
 
On cakes and other benefits
 
Meanwhile, Uy reminded Peña about the existing bid due to be awarded to BakeRite to supply the cakes distributed to senior citizens.
 
She said the contract has already been bidded out last June 2 but has yet to be awarded because of the temporary changes in the city government.
 
Peña sits as acting mayor after Binay was ordered suspended by the Ombudsman for his supposed involvement in the construction of the alleged overpriced Makati Science High School building.
 
Peña had said that he suspended the existing contract of the supplier of cakes in the city amid the allegations of corruption against the Binays. He said he will open another bidding for a new cake supplier.
 
"We don't know legally how he will tell it na magiging failed bidding 'yun kasi na-bid na pero hindi pa awarded," Uy said. — RSJ/KG, GMA News
 
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