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You may now call him the city’s chief “exorcist.”

Acting Makati City Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña on July 3 said he has started an inventory of employees at the Makati City Hall to weed it of “ghost” employees.

Ghost employees are employees that are on the payroll but do not report for daily work.

Peña said he is primarily eyeing the more than 4,000 casual employees at the city hall whose employment contracts have ended last Tuesday without suspended Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay renewing them.

It would be recalled that the Department of Interior and Local Government officially served Binay’s preventive suspension for six months last Tuesday. He vacated his office the following day, having no Temporary Restraining Orders to prevent his suspension, which he managed to do in an initial suspension order before.

Peña told reporters that he will not be renewing the employment contracts of these casual employees until after an evaluation of their respective performances.

Peña said that under the rules, he has the authority to renew employment contracts after 30 days from assuming post as Makati City acting mayor.

“Ang lagi pong tanong sakin ay kung may mga ghost employees dito (city hall). Ito na nga po ‘yung batayan para malaman natin kung meron talaga. Magkakaroon po kami ng imbentaryo titignan po namin kung ‘yung pangalan na ‘yun ay nandito talaga o kung ‘yung kanilang performance nila ay pumapasok sila araw araw o kung sila ba ay gumagawa ng trabaho. Para sa gayon eh ‘yung kabuuan ng lungsod eh maiisip po nila na kami ay tumutupad talaga sa tungkulin na araw araw, (I’ve been asked frequently if there are ghost employees here. Here now is the standards to determine if there is such. We will have an inventory and will see if their names are registered or if they report to work regularly or if they perform in their work. This way, the entire city will see that they are fulfilling their daily duties,)” he said.

Peña added that the contracts for the security and janitorial services for the 23-storey Makati City Hall building have also lapsed. He said a new sand transparent bidding would be scheduled for the janitorial and security services.

He said the contracts for the security and janitorial services at the Makati City Hall are being renewed at the end of each month. In the meantime, Peña said the security and janitorial work in the city hall are being done by his supporters and volunteers.

Meanwhile, Peña also said that Makati City would be temporarily suspending its “sister cities program” which was implemented by suspended Mayor Binay.

Peña said he would be suspending the program to make sure that the needs of Makati would come first.

“Ititigil ko na po muna yung recruitment ng mga sisterhood pasintabi po muna dun sa ating mga kaibigang LGUs (local government units) ito po ay para po bigyan muna ng prioridad yun pong aming mga suliranin at yung dapat asikasuhinin dito sa lungsod ng Makati, (We will halt the recruitment of sister cities for now, we ask for the understanding from our fellow LGUs, this is to give priority to our outstanding issues and to prioritize things to tackle here in Makati City,)” he said.

As part of the move, Peña said the Makati Friendship Suites – a hostel being operated by the city- will temporarily be off-limits to visiting delegations from Makati’s “sister cities.”

For his part, Joey Salgado, spokesman for suspended Mayor Binay slammed Peña for pursuing an inventory of city hall personnel. Salgado said Peña has no authority under law to cancel the city’s programs and contracts.

But wait. If they lapsed already, doesn’t that give HIM the authority to do so?

Salgado also reminded Peña about his status as stand-in, and is wary of possible fabrications against Binay.

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