Palace opts to stay away from Binays’ Dasmariñas incident
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has kept its hands off the altercation between Vice President Jejomar Binay’s son and security guards at an exclusive Makati City subdivision three weeks ago.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma did not say whether the actions of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr. and his bodyguards were in violation of President Aquino’s “no wang-wang” policy, which literally translates to “no sirens,” but is taken to refer all forms of abuse of power. Sirens were once used by people in power to make other vehicles give them the right of way on the roads.
But Coloma said the Palace was hopeful that public officials would abide by the policy, which the President spelled out in his inaugural speech more than three years ago.
“What I can only say is that the administration of President Aquino remains committed to its policies of ‘Matuwid na Daan’ [straight path] and ‘no wang-wang,’” he said in Filipino in his regular Sunday press briefing over Radyo ng Bayan.
“And it is our hope that all officials, whether elected or appointed, would cooperate because this is a good policy for public servants.”
The younger Binay came under fire for insisting that his four-vehicle convoy be allowed to leave via a restricted exit of Dasmariñas Village last Nov. 30. A video clip of the incident showed one of his bodyguards loading a firearm when the village guards stood their ground.
Annoyed, Binay allegedly confronted the lead guard and asked in Filipino: “Don’t you know me?”
He then phoned the local police, who eventually raised the bar so the mayor’s convoy could finally leave. The guards were brought to the police station but Binay’s camp claimed they were merely “invited,” not arrested.
The Vice President then defended his son, saying the mayor deserved “some courtesy.”
Coloma, who is identified with Binay’s “Samar” faction within the Aquino administration, said “there is a need to have a full understanding of all events regarding that incident.”
But a militant lawmaker said the mayor was guilty of committing an abusive act in an official capacity, even as he suggested that the younger Binay be compelled to attend a lecture workshop of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with his father’s political nemesis, Secretary Manuel Roxas II, as the main tutor.
“I think Mayor Binay was guilty of abuse of power in the incident. Rightfully, he has been criticized for it. I feel we should leave it to the judicial process to resolve the issue should Dasmariñas Village or the guards file charges,” said Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello, who believes a congressional probe on the village exit gate standoff was unnecessary.
Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice on Saturday said he would introduce a resolution for a House investigation of the Dasmariñas scandal to determine the extent of local officials’ power over police and check if there was any abuse by local chief executives.
Erice said he would submit his resolution to the Committee on Rules which would determine which committee would handle the probe.
“If they (guards) don’t [file charges], a profound apology to the guards, an oath before the Chief Justice never to do it again, plus compulsory attendance at a seminar on the proper behavior of public officials conducted by DILG head Mar Roxas would suffice,” said Bello.
Akbayan is a member of the House majority coalition led by the Liberal Party (LP).
Roxas lost narrowly to the elder Binay in the 2010 elections but the former, the running mate of President Aquino, has continued to pursue a protest case with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Roxas has sought a recount, claiming that the unusually high incidence of null and misread votes, especially in his political bailiwicks, should have been counted in his favor and should be more than enough to surpass Binay’s 727,084-vote lead.
Dasmariñas Village is part of Makati City, which has been ruled by the Binays for nearly three decades. Vice President Jejomar Binay was mayor from 1986 to 1998 and 2001 to 2010, with his wife Elenita Binay taking over as mayor during the mandatory three-year break.
The Binay family is considered the most powerful dynasty in the country, with the father second in line to the presidency, the son controlling the country’s main financial district and two daughters entrenched in Congress—a senator and a representative.
“Members of political dynasties act as if they are lords, as if they are gods in their districts, as if they are God’s gifts to humanity,” said Erice, an LP member, who was hopeful that Congress would pass his bill outlawing political dynasties like the Binays.
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