By Azer Parrocha | Philippine News Agency
MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday expressed gratitude to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Benjamin “Benhur“ Abalos Jr. for his “invaluable service” to the Duterte administration and the country after he resigned to become the national campaign manager of presidential aspirant and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“Chairman Abalos served the Duterte administration with professionalism and dedication. We thank him for his invaluable service to the nation,” Nograles said in a Palace press briefing.
Nograles cited Abalos’ key role in coordinating the official response with different local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila during the entry of different variants of concern in the country and the country’s careful shift to alert level systems.
“We wish Atty. Abalos the best and Godspeed,” he added.
Asked if Duterte would still appoint a new MMDA chair with roughly four months left before his term ends, Nograles said it is best to wait for further developments.
“Hintayin na lang po natin kung may i-appoint si Pangulong Duterte para sa MMDA chair. In the meantime, ang OIC natin sa MMDA ay si Atty. Romando [Artes] (Let us just wait and see if President Duterte will appoint someone as MMDA Chair. In the meantime, our OIC in MMDA is Atty. Romando),” he said.
Abalos, formerly the mayor of Mandaluyong City, resigned on Feb. 7, just a day before the official start of the national campaign period.
He took over the MMDA when its former chair, Danilo Lim, died of Covid-19 complications in 2021
The tandem of presidential candidate Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is confident that Abalos could “further solidify and ensure” their chances of winning in the May 9 elections.
“His sensible and wise leadership experience would play a big factor in leading the UniTeam to its desired victory, which consequently would be a win for the Filipino people,” the UniTeam said in a statement following Abalos’ resignation.
Abalos said he decided to join the UniTeam because he believes in the “unifying leadership” of Marcos and Duterte.
In the 2016 elections, Abalos also served as the campaign manager of Marcos, then vice presidential candidate, for Metro Manila. (PNA)