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Opposition mayor of Manila's financial district suspended for alleged wrongdoing

Opposition mayor of Manila's financial district suspended for alleged wrongdoing

The government on Tuesday suspended the mayor of Manila's financial district for alleged misconduct, angering about 1,000 of the opposition politician's supporters who turned up at the city hall.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, an opposition stalwart who has irked President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo by allowing opposition groups to stage protests against her, has been under investigation for allegedly keeping ghost employees on the city's payroll.
Interior Department Undersecretary Wencelito Andanar said he served the 60-day suspension order early Tuesday, but Binay refused to recognize it and remained in his office surrounded by supporters.
"My only fault here is being in the opposition," Binay told reporters. "I will not follow this illegal order. They might as well kill me here but I will never run away from this fight." He was dressed in army fatigues even though he does not hold any military position.
He said the charges against him were politically motivated and denied the allegations.
He said he had asked a court of appeals to issue a temporary restraining order even before the suspension was served in order to stay in his job. The court has yet to rule.
Riot police were deployed around the city hall but later left after tensions subsided even though many protesters remained in front of city hall.
Former President Corazon Aquino, a close ally of Binay, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona and other opposition activists showed up at city hall to express their support for the suspended mayor.
Aquino called the charges against Binay "terrible" and said he had helped her many times during her presidency when military factions tried to topple her.
Aquino restored democracy in the Philippines after a 1986 "people power" revolt ousted late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. But last year, she joined the opposition's calls for Arroyo to resign at the height of the president's worst political crisis on allegations she rigged the 2004 election.
The U.S. Embassy warned Americans to stay away from demonstrations or exercise caution when near rallies in Makati. "Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence," an embassy advisory said.
Binay has granted opposition groups permission to rally in Makati, unlike in other parts of the capital that are administered by pro-Arroyo mayors.
Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing, and government officials dismissed Binay's allegations that the investigation against him was political.


Updated : 2021-10-18 18:34 GMT+08:00