MANILA, Philippines – The word war between Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp and the administration has spilled over to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The PNP on Wednesday, July 1, accused the Vice President of instigating a confrontation between his security aides and personnel from the PNP on July 29, the same day the Ombudsman issued a second suspension order against his son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr. over another allegedly overpriced building.
A police colonel now wants to press charges against Binay for allegedly insulting him and the PNP, direct assault, and for threatening him and his personnel. (READ: Mayor Binay, supporters should be charged – De Lima)
On Monday night, June 29, tensions rose when the Vice President, his daughter Senator Nancy Binay and Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco headed to the Makati City Hall.
Binay, supporters in tow, wanted to enter the city hall where his son had barricaded himself.
Police deployed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) were going to let Binay and his party – but not his throng of supporters – enter the city hall. This caused tension between Binay and Senior Superintendent Elmer Jamias, the ground commander of the police personnel deployed there.
“Siya ang nanglait sa aming pangalang personal (He insulted us),” Jamias said on Wednesday, July 1 in a press conference attended his superiors – PNP officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Carmelo Valmoria, and Southern Police District (SPD) chief Chief Superintendent Henry Rañola.
“Patuloy ang kanyang panglalait sa akin bilang isang pulis (He continued to insult me as a police officer),” added Jamias, who said Binay repeatedly pointed at his nameplate while accosting him.
Based on videos taken by news networks that covered the confrontation, those surrounding Binay were also berating Jamias, accusing him of breaking the law.
The PNP said that during the confrontation, a companion of Binay threatened to throw a grenade, causing further commotion in the area.
Binay then went to the area where personnel from the PNP’s Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) unit were located.
In a presentation to the media, the PNP claimed that Binay and his team of security personnel pushed the shields of the policewomen tasked to barricade the premises of the city hall.
The Vice President also allegedly collared CDM ground commander Chief Inspector Gideon Ines.
His security detail also allegedly started punching Ines, who said he sustained injuries. Some 12 police personnel were allegedly injured as a result of the confrontation, which is now the subject of a probe by the Special Investigation Task Group under the SPD.
‘We acted with restraint’
Colonel Ferdinand Fraginal, head of the Vice President’s security team, denied reports that Binay’s security team harmed police personnel during the clash.
He added, however, that they will “fully cooperate” with any investigation into the incident.
In a statement emailed to media, Fraginal insisted that they “acted with restraint and focused their efforts to ensure the security and safety of the Vice President.”
The PNP claims the same.
“We will do anything and everything not to escalate anymore any of the emotions that were stirred up,” said Espina, emphasizing that maximum tolerance was exercised by troops deployed to the city hall.
Espina, praising the actions of CDM troops, said the situation could have been worse had police not exercised restraint.
Valmoria, meanwhile, rebuffed Fraginal’s claims. “I respect what he said but the videos will not lie,” said Valmoria.
The SPD is still collating evidence to help strengthen any possible cases against Binay. On Wednesday, Valmoria called on media who covered the incident to turn over any videos they may have taken.
Espina said the PNP will be helping out police personnel allegedly aggrieved during the incident, legal assistance included.
Jamias, speaking to reporters, acknowledged that there was sufficient reason for police to arrest Binay and his supporters, for allegedly violating the law. The police colonel, however, said he made the decision not to arrest anyone because doing so would only escalate tensions further.
“The situation called for it,” he said.
Police officials refused to go into the details of the ongoing investigation into the incident, nor did they reveal the possible cases that could be filed against Binay and his security team. The police have yet to verify if Binay’s security personnel are all government forces or if some of them were hired by the Vice President in a personal capacity.
A “sizeable contingent” is still on call in the vicinity of the Makati city hall, although Mayor Binay on Wednesday heeded the Ombudsman’s orders and temporarily stepped down as mayor. – Rappler.com