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Guards not arrested–Binay camp

/ 12:54 AM December 20, 2013

VOLUNTARY? A police officer grabs the arm of one of the security guards manning Dasmariñas Village on Banyan and McKinley Roads for refusing to allow the convoy of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay to pass through. The Makati City spokesperson says the mayor did not order the arrest of three guards of the village as they went to the police station voluntarily. CONTRIBUTED/SCREEN GRAB FROM SECURITY VIDEO

The three security guards who barred the four-vehicle convoy of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay from passing through a gate of the plush Dasmariñas Village in the city on Nov. 30 were not arrested, the mayor’s camp said on Thursday in a rebuttal to the Inquirer story.

“The guards volunteered to go with the police. The video bears this out,” said Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesman and chief information officer.

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Sen. Nancy Binay, a passenger of one of the vehicles, branded as “malicious” the Inquirer story on her brother’s alleged harassment of two subdivision guards.

The mayor and senator are children of Vice President Jejomar Binay, a former mayor of Makati who has declared he will run for president in 2016. Another sibling, Abigail, is a Makati representative.

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In a statement, Nancy said the story “had glaring biases and bends.”

With Christmas just a few days away and with the incident well past behind those concerned, the senator indicated that it was time to move on from the controversy.

“The so-called Dasmariñas incident happened three weeks ago and we have forgotten about it,” Nancy said.

Saying the unnamed source of the Inquirer report that appeared on Thursday on its front page gave false and malicious information, Salgado stressed that Binay did not order any arrest.

Salgado said this information was made clear by both the president of Right Eight Security Inc., Ram Antonio, and the Makati police chief, Supt. Manuel Lucban, in their interviews, but that the Inquirer “opted to bury their statements.”

Text message

In a text message to the Inquirer, Salgado said Antonio had wanted to issue again his statement because he claimed his “full statement” was not used in the article.

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The Inquirer tried to reach the president of the security agency but his staff said he was on a trip abroad.

Banyan, McKinley Roads

The mayor came from his sister’s house in Dasmariñas Village in Makati when their convoy was not allowed to exit from the Banyan Road gate of the village on McKinley Road.

The guards of Right Eight Security Inc. did not raise the iron barrier because vehicles were not allowed to pass through the gate after 10 p.m., the source earlier told the Inquirer.

“All vehicles are allowed to pass this gate during the day. They can enter until midnight, but no one is allowed to go out after 10 in the evening,” the source said.

He said residents, such as senators, congressmen, mayors and diplomats, follow village rules.

The source said the mayor’s convoy should have used the Palm Avenue exit, “which is 150 meters away from Banyan Road.”

24-minute video

The standoff at the gate of Banyan and McKinley Roads was recorded by the closed-circuit television cameras of North Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village, the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal from City Hall, told the Inquirer.

The 24-minute video, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, showed the mayor stepping out of the lead vehicle after the two guards manning the Banyan Road gate on McKinley Road did not raise the iron barrier to allow the convoy to pass. (The video is available on Inquirer.net.)

“The mayor got off from the lead car and asked the guards, ‘Do you know me?’” the source told the Inquirer.

Cocked handgun

The video also showed Binay stepping away from the guard house toward the side of McKinley Road. He was talking on his cell phone.

One of the mayor’s security personnel loaded a handgun and cocked it, while another aide of the mayor carried a rifle.

The video also showed Binay talking to the two guards a few minutes before policemen in uniform, armed with M-16 rifles, arrived.

Makati policemen lifted the gate’s barrier and, shortly after, arrested the two guards and Virgilio Robang, the Dasmariñas Village security officer in charge, according to the source.

The source said the three security personnel of the village were taken to the Makati City Police headquarters where they were detained for at least four hours.

No force used

The City Hall spokesperson said it was unfortunate that “the Inquirer relied too heavily on a source who was conveniently not identified.”

“The CCTV footage showed that the mayor’s convoy did not force its way through the gate. In fact, it waited for the police to arrive,” Salgado said.

The “Kilala mo ba ako (Do you know me)?” line that the Inquirer source quoted Binay as saying to the guards when he went out of his vehicle was never uttered by the mayor, according to Salgado.

Social media posts

The quote that has quickly gained popularity in social media posts and Internet memes was “false and downright malicious,” he said.

“On the contrary, the mayor went down his vehicle and said ‘Si Mayor Binay ako. Baka pwedeng makiraan lang,’” the city spokesperson said.

The mayor said this after one of the guards refused to believe a member of the mayor’s staff who said that Binay was inside one of the vehicles, according to Salgado.

He said the Binay camp had already considered the matter closed after Antonio apologized for the “lapses in providing security assistance to the mayor,” which he noted is a courtesy extended to all VIPs visiting the subdivision.

“What was reported in the Inquirer had glaring biases and bends. The video does not capture what really happened,” Nancy said.

Heartwarming

The senator said it was “really heartwarming to know that there are people who are not swayed by the malicious story in the Inquirer and spiteful posts on social media.”

“It is apparent that there are people bent on putting the name of my family in a bad light,” she said.

Nancy was a target of social media critics during the 2013 senatorial campaign after she refused to accept Risa Hontiveros’ challenge to a debate.

“No amount of explanation would satisfy those who have never-ending dislike for our family. All parties have already explained their side and have resolved the matter civilly long before the news landed above-the-fold in the Inquirer,” she said.

Time to move on

“In the spirit of Christmas, I pray that we all work for peace and reconciliation instead of kindling hate. The issue has already been good-naturedly settled—all’s well that ends well. This is a season of giving and forgiving. Time to move on,” she added.

A member of the senator’s staff said the mayor’s sister would give no further comment on what she described as “biases and bends” in the Inquirer report.

“This is my first and last official statement on the incident. Please understand if I can hardly take your calls at the moment. I hope you will allow me to have some private time with my kids and my family since Christmas is just a few days away. ‘Maligayang Pasko,’” Nancy said.—Reports from Maricar B. Brizuela and Norman Bordadora

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TAGS: Abuse of Authority, Dasmariñas Village, guards, Junjun Binay, Makati, Makati Mayor, Nancy Binay, Philippines - Metro, Police
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