Aspiring Makati City congressman Romulo Peña Jr. on Saturday debunked the claim of his rival that he was negligent when he acted as city mayor from 2015 to 2016.
“If my rival meant that my short-lived but remarkable performance as acting mayor falls under neglect, then I will be proud to say that I am indeed a ‘negligent’ leader,” Peña said in a statement.
Peña is seeking a House seat to represent the first district of Makati this coming May 2019 midterm elections.
He is running against former Vice President Jejomar Binay who said earlier that public services and government operations “were ignored and declined during the time of Mayor Peña and these included significant benefits for residents he initiated during his term as Makati mayor.”
Binay, who also served as mayor of Makati from 1986 to 1998 and from 2001 to 2010 before he was elected vice president in 2010 also said that his daughter, incumbent Mayor Abigail Binay, deserved to be reelected because she performed well and had shown genuine compassion for her constituents compared to her predecessor.
But according to Peña, he implemented good governance and transparency, and paved the way for notable improvements in Makati during his time.
In that period, he added, birthday cakes for the elderly was upgraded to Goldilocks “eclipsing the appeal of bland cakes being supplied by the accuser.”
“Likewise, medicines of senior citizens were delivered right at their doorstep by ambulant health workers. On the spot medical check up and monitoring of their health is being done to prevent them endure long queues at the Ospital ng Makati,” he said.
Peña also recalled that all city buses and coasters served Metro Railway Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) commuters and made them available as service vehicles of the city government workforce that time.
“After nearly a decade, windfall benefits of Makati public school teachers were released to the delight of beneficiaries, some of them are already retired from the service,” he said.
Peña also said he is the only “Binay opponent who was defeated by a close margin of 3% or 16k+ votes cast,” adding that “he won the majority of barangays in the first district including the 6 affluent villages.”
Event though he lost, Peña said he continued serving the people through his various programs and projects two weeks after the election was held. He claimed that more than 200 wheel chairs were distributed to indigent residents in Makati, and 300 crutches were given to differently-abled persons.
The former mayor said he also “goes around households to distribute free branded medicines, birthday cakes, nebulizers and sphygmomanometer and referred patients to other hospitals who do not want admission at the Ospital ng Makati.”
Besides extending cash assistance to residents who want to start small business, Peña said he also sponsored feeding programs while his constituents “always seek his presence in every wake and burials, baptismal, weddings, birthday celebrations, and simple conversations with community folks.”
Peña took over the leadership in Makati in July 2015 after the Office of the Ombudsman ordered then mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay to vacate the post in connection with the alleged irregularities in the construction of Makati Science High School.
In 2016 elections, he ran for mayor under the administration Liberal Party but was defeated by Abigail Binay.
Abigail is the fourth in the Binay family who was elected mayor in Makati after her father Binay Sr., mother Elenita, and brother Jejomar Erwin.
Makati, a city with more than 370,000 registered voters, has been a stronghold of the Binays since the former vice president was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as its officer-in-charge in 1986.