Embattled Abalos gets liftBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
For government prosecutors, former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. may be the man who unjustly helped former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo win previous elections, but for Mandaluyong Mayor Benhur Abalos, the beleaguered septuagenarian is still his beloved “dad.”
In his inaugural address as the reelected local chief executive on Monday, an emotional younger Abalos dedicated his “win” to his father, who is out on bail on charges of electoral sabotage. The older Abalos also faces graft charges at the Sandiganbayan.
“Dad, this win is for you, ha?” he said, amid cheers from his supporters at the jampacked city gymnasium.
Before his speech, Abalos took his oath before Court of Appeals Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda, who also administered the oaths of the city’s 12 elected councilors—including that of Benhur’s daughter, Charisse—and that of new vice mayor, Edward Bartolome.
Representative-elect Neptali Gonzales II took his oath before Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
The former Comelec chairman, who sat in the audience, was seen smiling at his son, who went on to say: “This is for you, I’m dedicating this to you.”
The younger Abalos then went on to detail his administration’s accomplishments before he was given the fresh mandate.
Among other things, he said the hard work of city officials “transformed” Mandaluyong from “a city town to a bustling metropolis” with a now P2.1-billion budget, an increase from the P200 million it had 15 years ago.
This year, as in 2012, he added, that his administration managed to get P120 billion in investments.