Justice Secretary Leila de Lima on Tuesday said they would not tolerate the Binay camp’s “blatant disrespect” of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the police.
“They are already fomenting lawlessness and chaos in Makati without any regard to authority and peace and order. No public official can treat any part of LGU [local government unit]territory as his own kingdom and government office as a royal entitlement,” she declared.
“Our local governments are still a part of our republican government. They are not kingdoms unto themselves and their mayors should not act like petty kings who can disregard the law with impunity,” de Lima said.
Binay’s supporters who started camping outside the City Hall building on Monday clashed with police escorting DILG representatives who were ordered to serve Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr.’s preventive suspension order on Tuesday morning.
Television news footage shows civilians hurling plastic chairs at policemen who
protected themselves with metal shields. The policemen formed a protective ring around the DILG representatives who pasted a copy of the order on a building post.
At least eight people, including three policemen, were reported hurt in the violent clash.
The night before, Vice President Binay confronted the deputy chief of the Southern Police District, Senior Supt. Elmer Jamias, and demanded that they allow their supporters entry into the City Hall compound.
A GMA News footage shows Binay telling Jamias, “Marahas ka sa tao. Basta sinasabi ko lang sa’yo, mag-aaway tayo. Lalabanan ka namin [You’re treating people with cruelty. I’m telling you, we’ll end up fighting. We will fight you)].”
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd said the PNP will investigate the incident.
Jamias said he will file charges against the Vice President for abuse of authority, assault and defamation.
De Lima said Mayor Binay can expect fresh charges to be filed against him. She added that direct assault and obstruction of justice charges would also be filed against Binay’s supporters.
“The incident was aired live on television and with the video taken, it is most probable that charges will be filed against those shown directly assaulting police officers and obstructing justice,” she added.
“We will also recommend to the DILG the possible initiation of administrative charges for insubordination, and possibly even criminal charges, against Mayor Binay for non-compliance with the order of suspension issued by the Ombudsman as disciplining authority,” de Lima said.
In a news conference, Mayor Binay insisted that the police were the ones who attacked his supporters.
Binay also accused Roxas of tolerating abusive police officers. The mayor claimed that a police major shoved his father when he entered the City Hall building on Monday night.
“Si Vice President po ay tinulak ni Maj. Gideon Ginez, at iyan din po ang parehong major na nagtulak sa kapatid ng nanay ko,” he said.
Mayor Binay added that they will sue the police together with Roxas. He called on the Commission on Human Rights to look into the incident.
Makati City Vice Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. was sworn in as the city’s acting mayor. He took his oath before assistant city prosecutor Julius Caesar Gaurano past 9 a.m. Tuesday, at the old Makati City Hall building.
The acting mayor called on Binay and his supporters to “set a good example” and avoid inflaming tensions.
“We are appealing to them to give way to the rule of law,” Peña said.
Roxas also appealed to Binay to just step down and put an end to the “drama.”
“I’m calling on Mayor Binay to step down. This is not a telenovela. You’re not special. You’re only making a drama,” he said in Filipino.
Roxas added that the DILG was only following the Ombudsman’s directive to enforce the suspension order.
“You don’t own Makati, Mayor Binay. Nobody’s king here except the law. We’re only upholding the law and that’s what the DILG and the PNP [are]doing. If you have anything to say, just say it in court,” he said.
With ANTHONY VARGAS, FERNAN MARASIGAN AND JOEL M. SY EGCO