MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II on Tuesday, June 30, reminded suspended Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr that Makati City is not his nor his family’s “kingdom,” and urged him to step down in accordance with the law.
Roxas made the statement hours after Binay’s supporters attacked policemen protecting a representative of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) tasked to serve a second preventive suspension on the mayor at city hall.
“Nanawagan ako kay Mayor Binay na bumaba na po . Hindi po ito isang telenovela, hindi po ito isang drama sa inyong pamilya o sa inyong paghahari-hari sa Makati. Ito po ay tungkol sa batas,” he said.
(I am calling on Mayor Binay to step down. This is not a telenovela. This is not a drama about your family or your virtual kingdom in Makati. This is about the law.)
He said any developing “drama” in Makati is caused by the refusal of its mayor to heed the Ombudsman’s suspension order.
Roxas reiterated: “Hindi po pag-aari ninyo ang Makati, Mayor Binay. Walang naghahari-hari rito kung hindi ang batas (You don’t own Makati, Mayor Binay. Nobody lords over [Makati] other than the law)."
He said that the situation should be simple enough – the Ombudsman, an independent, constitutional body, issued a suspension order against a local official over alleged anomalies, and the concerned official should heed it.
“‘Yan ay tinitingnan bilang kabahagi ng regular processes ng ating mga batas, at ‘yan ay pinapatupad ng DILG sa tulong ng PNP….‘Wag naman po sanang isipin na humihigit pa kayo o nangibabaw kayo sa batas. Batas at batas lang po ang pinapatupad namin,” he said.
(That is observed as part of the regular process of the law, and it is enforced by the DILG with the help of the PNP….Don’t think that you are above the law. We only implement the law.)
Malacañang echoed Roxas' call. “Laws should be followed because we are a government of laws, not of men,” Palace Communications Secretary Hermonio Coloma Jr said in a text message to reporters.
Binay has refused to step down, accusing their family's political foes of "using the Ombudsman’s office for their own purposes.”
Despite this, Makati Vice Mayor Romulo Peña on Tuesday took over as acting mayor. (Watch his oath-taking here)
Roxas to VP: Help ease tension
Responding to questions, Roxas urged the mayor’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, to help restore normalcy in Makati, where transactions have been stalled because of the tension between Binay’s supporters and authorities.
“Si Vice President Binay ay isang mataas na opisyal ng ating pamahalaan. Maaari siyang tumulong na abisuhan ang kanyang anak na sumunod sa batas. Batas po ang pinapairal dito. Hindi po espesyal ito,” he said.
(Vice President Binay is a senior government official, He can help by advising his son to follow the law. The law should be upheld. There is no special [treatment] here.)
He said that the mayor should only expect special treatment from his father, but not the law.
Roxas added that it would be best for Binay to go to court instead of staying put, which has hurt some people, and also Makati operations.
“Doon po kayo sa korte, hindi po rito na dadaanin sa pananakit o dadaanin sa, in effect, panghohostage ng mga kababayan natin sa Makati, ipagkakait sa kanila ang serbisyo dahil sa quadrangle sa city hall ay nagkakagulo,” Roxas said.
(Go to court. Don’t do it this way, by hurting others or, in effect, holding hostage the people of Makati because of the commotion at the quadrangle in city hall.)
He said that Vice Mayor Romulo Peña will be recognized as acting mayor until the DILG is instructed otherwise.
Charges vs VP security?
Roxas also said that the DILG is mulling charges against members of the Vice President’s security detail who allegedly assaulted police authorities on Monday.
He said that the Philippine National Police will be sending formal requests to news networks for copies of video footage on the alleged confrontation.
“Pormal na susulat sa mga networks, hihingin namin ang iyong mga videotapes kabahagi ng PNP investigation dito (There will be a formal request to the networks. We will ask for your videotapes. This will part of the PNP investigation),” he said.
Roxas said that at least two police officers were hurt in the scuffle, among them, a lady officer who had executed an affidavit, saying that she sustained a large bruise on her chest after being struck by one of the security men.
The DILG chief said that the police officers had been instructed to exercise “maximum tolerance, absolute restraint” in dealing with the situation in Makati. He thanked them for their “professionalism and for maintaining their respectability” in the face of “harassment.”
Asked what charges may be filed against the Vice President’s security detail, Roxas said this would be based on what authorities see in the video footage of the incident, but added that these may include obstruction of justice. – with reports from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com