Vice President Jejomar Binay was accused by the police on Wednesday of roughing up officers during a brawl that left several people hurt in Makati City.
The fracas broke out after police tried to serve an order from the Office of the Ombudsman suspending the Vice President’s son from his post as mayor of Makati City.
The suspension was ordered over a corruption case also allegedly involving the mayor’s father.
“I thought I was face-to-face with a Vice President who supported the police, but it was the opposite. He mocked my being a policeman,” Senior Supt. Elmer Jamias, deputy director of the Southern Police District (SPD), said of the melee, parts of which aired on television.
“I saluted him but he didn’t return it right away. He pointed at my nameplate and said I was there only to drag him out of City Hall,” Jamias told a news conference at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Police said they were studying possible criminal charges against the elder Binay and his bodyguards, mostly Marine soldiers, detailed at the Office of the Vice President.
Jamias said Binay repeatedly tapped his nameplate and accused him of being abusive.
“Marahas ka sa tao. Basta sinasabi ko lang sa iyo, 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],” the Vice President was shown on TV telling Jamias.
Jamias said he will file charges of oral defamation, assault upon person of authority and physical injuries against Binay.
The Vice President, 73, has denied he laid a hand on any police officer during the Monday night confrontation in Makati.
Marine Col. Ferdinand Fraginal, head of Binay’s security detail, said “the scuffle at the Makati quadrangle was an unfortunate event.”
“In our initial investigation, we found that there is no truth to the report that the security personnel of the Vice President hurt some police officers during the incident.
The OVP [Office of the Vice President] security personnel acted with restraint and focused their efforts to ensure the security and safety of the Vice President. Rest assured that we will fully cooperate with any investigation to resolve this matter,” he said in a statement sent to The Manila Times.
Television footage showed Binay, who plans to run for President in next year’s elections, angrily jabbing his forefinger at Jamias.
Other footage showed alleged Binay supporters throwing plastic chairs at a phalanx of riot police, who took cover behind their shields.
A second officer, Chief Inspector Gideon Ines, accused the elder Binay of grabbing him by the collar and the Vice President’s bodyguards of striking him on the chest.
Police allegd that the Vice President, a former mayor of Makati City (Metro Manila), later went there and helped his son defy the authorities.
The Makati Business Club criticized the Binays’ defiance, which it said led to the violence.
Jamias–a bemedalled police officer whose life story was made into a film in 2000 that starred Binay’s ally, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada–said the Vice President threatened to sack him and his his men.
“Sinasabi niya sa akin, ‘Kakalabanin kita ngayon, maglaban tayo dito. Pag-alis ko, tatanggalin ko mga tao mo [He told me, ‘I will fight you. We will fight here. After I leave, I’ll fire your people],’” the SPD chief, the highest ranked officer on the scene, added.
“Sabi ko, ‘VP [Vice President] , sana po ‘di ganyan ang actuation mo dahil paglabag iyan sa batas’. Bilang alagad ng batas, tumutupad lang ako sa tungkulin ko [I told him, ‘VP, you should not act like that because that’s against the law. As a law enforcer, I’m just doing my duty],’” he said.
Director Carmelo Valmoria, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, said while they respect Binay’s statement accusing the police of starting the melee, it is up to the public to judge who is telling the truth.
“I respect what he said but the video recording doesn’t lie,” he told reporters.
WITH BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON AND AFP