The city government of Taguig can maintain its jurisdiction over the contested Fort Bonifacio—at least for now.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas on Friday ordered the police chiefs of Taguig and Makati City to stand down as the fight for control over the prime residential and commercial area continued to escalate between the two neighbors.
Roxas made his position known following the scuffle between the personnel of the two city governments on Wednesday, the third such disturbance following last month’s Court of Appeals ruling that handed seven barangays— including the upscale Bonifacio Global City—back to Makati after a 20-year dispute with Taguig.
The Cabinet official also reminded the local police not to get themselves entangled with the squabble between the two local government units (LGUs), saying the Philippine National Police does not have the authority to interpret the CA order.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Roxas said he issued the directive upon the advice of the PNP, over which the Department of the Interior and Local Government exercises administrative control, and the DILG’s legal services unit.
He said he had also ordered the National Police Commission and PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to “set up appropriate protocols” to avoid the possibility of the Taguig and Makati police units being embroiled in the legal battle.
In an earlier interview on ABS-CBN, Roxas explained that “as of now, the guidance (for the Taguig and Makati police) is to observe the status quo.”
“We should wait for the order of the court,” he added. “While the (local governments) of Makati, Taguig and Pateros (a third claimant) have their own interpretation of the court’s order, the point here is that the police should not interfere in this dispute.”
On Thursday, Makati police chief Senior Supt. Manuel Lukban said charges would be filed against his Taguig counterpart, Senior Supt. Art Asis, for releasing a Taguig city government employee who was caught carrying an unlicensed firearm during a scuffle between the employees of the two LGUs on McKinley Road in Makati’s Barangay Forbes Park.
“We only have one (PNP) and we will await the court’s directive as to where (the) borders are and who’s in charge of what. So as to ensure continued law and order, and the performance of duty in the interim, there should be status quo for the meantime,” Roxas said.
Asked if what he meant by status quo was to allow Taguig to maintain its jurisdiction over the former military reservation, Roxas said: “It’s correct. At present, that’s the policy. But we will further study this so that the policy would be clearer.”
Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano and her husband, Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano, are known political allies of President Aquino’s Liberal Party, of which Roxas is the president on leave.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. is the son of Vice President Jejomar Binay, who defeated Roxas in the 2010 national elections. Both men are seen vying for the presidency in 2016.