Makati City Acting Mayor Romulo "Kid" Peña,nagsimula nang mag-opisina sa hallway ng Old City Hall pic.twitter.com/QInx1m8Fo5
— Dennis Cabral Datu (@dennis_datu) March 19, 2015
Makati is also rich in mayors: A brief history of politicians who refuse to leave office
True to it’s reputation as the richest city in the Philippines, Makati also has a surplus in mayors who think they run the city.
Despite the issuance of a Comic Sans-ed Temporary Restraining Order by the Court of Appeals, Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that Vice Mayor Kid Peña must ascend as the city’s acting mayor.
In reports, she explained that the TRO would have been “moot,” since the suspension order from the Office of the Ombudsman has been served and implemented before TRO was released.
But the younger Binay won’t back down; he and the whole brood have been staying in the City Hall since the suspension order’s issuance, which was last week.
Putting all the drama aside, both mayors have been doing normal, mayorly stuff. While Binay is comfortably tucked in his office signing papers and documents, Peña made rounds on his motorcycle. His staff set up an office in the hallway of the ground floor of the old municipal building.
But while the mayor-drama continues in the country’s financial capital, it’s important to remind ourselves that having two people claiming the exact same position is nothing new. In fact, it happens quite often. Cue the padlocks, chains, human barricades, and unbelievably stubborn attitudes.
In a plot almost straight out of a spy novel, former Cebu province Governor and current Representative Gwen Garcia refused to give her seat up despite orders from Malacañang to step down, following an investigation on her alleged grave abuse of authority. The case was filed by former Vice Gov. Greg Sanchez Jr. in 2010, and Garcia was ordered suspended for six months on Dec. 19, 2012.
The Vice Gov. at the time, Agnes Magpale, was supposed to take over when Garcia was suspended. Garcia locked herself in her office, and camped inside for an entire month. During that period, she only briefly left to make an appearance during the Sinulog festival, but quickly returned.
Less than two weeks later, on January 31, 2013, Garcia quietly left her office under the cover of night and visited the southern municipalities of Cebu, with the intention of returning to her office the following morning. Magpale quickly grabbed this opportunity and locked the office of the governor, effectively denying Garcia entry into the office.
Garcia ran for Congress later that same year, and was elected as the Representative for the 3rd district of Cebu.
Earlier that year, in November of 2012, suspended mayor of Norzagaray, Bulacan Feliciano Legaspi clung onto his position despite orders from Office of the Ombudsman to vacate it for six months pending an investigation into charges of oppression and abuse of authority.
Legaspi continued to report to his office. Vice-Mayor Rogelio Santos issued a memorandum to all department heads of the city to report to him, however none responded.
In an interesting twist, the winner of the 2013 mayoral elections for Norzaragay was disqualified by the Commission on Elections, and also refused to leave office. The losing candidate who was later declared as the winner? Alfredo Legaspi, the son of the fomer-suspended-wouldn’t-leave-mayor.
In yet another “lock the gates!” scenario, movie actor and Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito refused to step down as the province’s governor after the Commission on Elections disqualified him for overspending during the 2013 Midterm Elections. Comelec installed Vice Gov. Ramil Hernandez instead.
The Hari ng Tondo eventually gave his position up last May 2014, after months of camping inside the provincial capitol. Just recently, the Supreme Court ruled with finality upholding Ejercito’s disqualification.
Also in 2013, the Supreme Court unseated Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi after a recount of ballots showed that his opponent Homer Saquilayan should have won the polls. In a common theme of badassery, Maliksi did not flee the City Hall, and even had his supporters barricade the whole compound. Sounds familiar?
Further down south, there were two mayors serving Tayabas City, Quezon back in September 2014. (Are two mayors better than one?) After Mayor Faustino Silang and Vice Mayor Luz Cuadra were suspended, number one councilor Wenda Saberola served as the mayor for six months.
Cuadra stepped in as Tayabas’ acting mayor after serving her suspension, yet Saberola refused to give her seat up unless the DILG issued another order installing Cuadra as the acting mayor. Eventually, Saberola’s motion for a TRO was denied, and Cuadra assumed the role of mayor.
And in yet another case of having two mayors, suspended Bangui, Ilocos Norte Mayor Diosdado Garvida kept reporting to the municipal hall despite the order of a six-month suspension against him for indiscriminate firing.
Since vice mayor and acting mayor Fidel Cimatu Jr. was also reporting for work, the police had to temporarily lock the municipal hall down in November of 2014 to avoid possible confrontations between the two. Talk about being stubborn.
And just this February, Mayor Angeles Carloto II holed up himself, his staff, and his supporters in the municipal hall, because — yes — he didn’t want to relinquish his position as mayor of Tampilisan, Zamboanga del Norte. His rival Alson Chua filed an electoral protest during the 2013 Midterm Elections which eventually favored him and unseated Carloto.
Phew. Perhaps these people should just preserve their dignity and decide on it with a coin toss.