Former Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. will replace Danilo Lim as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), two officials confirmed Sunday.
Senator Christopher "Bong" Go and MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia confirmed Abalos’ appointment in replacing former military general Lim, who passed away last week from a heart attack after contracting COVID-19 late in December.
Garcia, meanwhile, will remain as MMDA General Manager with a Cabinet rank of undersecretary.
Abalos served as the mayor of Mandaluyong City for a total of 15 years, from 1998 to 2004, and from 2007 to 2016. He also served as representative of Mandaluyong from 2004 to 2007.
Abalos’ wife, Carmelita, succeeded him as the city’s chief executive.
In a text message, Abalos said he has yet to see his appointment papers from Malacanang as MMDA chief. “I have not yet seen my appointment nor took an oath. It would be better once I have a copy of the appointment," he said.
As Mandaluyong's mayor, Abalos implemented a ban on "riding-in-tandem" motorcyclists in 2014 as a crime prevention measure. Males were banned from back riding on motorcycles unless they were immediate family members or law enforcers.
A rider of motorcycle ride-hailing company Angkas challenged the Mandaluyong ordinance before the court in 2019, which has yet to be resolved.