Binay says police can defy illegal orders
Vice President Jejomar Binay on Thursday said policemen could defy illegal orders, insisting there was no justification for what they did in Tuesday’s brawl between them and supporters of his son, suspended Makati City Mayor Junjun Binay, on the City Hall grounds.
Binay went on radio to condemn the accounts of the incident given to the media by Senior Supt. Elmer Jamias, head of the 700-strong Philippine National Police contingent, armed with truncheons and shields, that was dispatched to seal off Makati City Hall.
Jamias said he would file charges against the Vice President for insulting and punching him and berating other policemen deployed in the City Hall complex.
Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, the PNP officer in charge, stands behind Jamias, according to the PNP spokesperson, Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor.
Crime against state
“It is not a crime against a person, but a crime against the state in case of direct assault since policemen represent the state,” Mayor said. He said a special task force was gathering evidence against Binay and his men.
The brawl happened after the PNP force sealed off the area before dawn on Tuesday and a Department of the Interior and Local Government official posted on the main door an order from the Office of the Ombudsman suspending Binay—the second such order since March—purportedly to allow investigations into allegations against the Binay family.
In the radio interview, Binay said that the evidence against him in this complaint in the Ombudsman was “double hearsay” and that the agency had no case against him and his son.
“Anybody who will read (the complaint) … they will say that there is no case. This was hastily done. And probably this haste was prompted when I resigned,” he said.
One-sided TV coverage
Binay, who resigned from President Aquino’s Cabinet on June 22, also urged the television stations that covered Monday’s brawl to also air in their telecasts the other side of the incident, which involved policemen manhandling his son’s supporters.
The Vice President said media teams had covered him from the time he faced Jamias and his men on Monday to ask why they were blocking supporters from entering City Hall.
“That is why I am wondering that from the many incidents that happened that time, only the incident where people were throwing chairs at the policemen was shown on TV,” he said in the interview in Filipino, a transcript of which was released to the media.
Binay said his sister-in-law Aida Dizon was hurt by policemen.
Recounting his encounter with police officials, Binay said he asked them “what law they were following to ban and push those who wanted to come in.”
The officials were unable to reply because they could not really pinpoint a law, according to Binay, who added that in one instance, some of them said that they were just following orders.
Binay said that he told them that he had also used a uniform once and had studied at the National Defense College.
“One of the things taught to those in uniform is that if it’s wrong, it’s not right, and if what you are being asked to do is illegal, you have a right not to follow it,” he said.
The Vice President said that Japanese soldiers who were asked to explain the atrocities they had committed during World War II simply said they were just following orders. This is not an acceptable explanation, he said.
“If it’s illegal, you just can’t say that you were just ordered to do so,” he said.
In a statement on Thursday, Binay’s spokesperson Rico Quicho said Jamias’ account in a news conference of Tuesday’s melee was “far from what transpired” and that the videos he presented were “far from the truth.”
Quicho said Binay went to City Hall on Monday night after receiving complaints that two women—apparently referring to Binay’s sister-in-law as one of them—were harshly treated by the police.
“The Vice President proceeded to the command outpost but Jamias and his men gave the Vice President the run around. Finally, Jamias was found hiding in his car,” Quicho said, adding that Binay reminded him about respecting constitutional rights and that they were curtailing the right to assemble by setting up barricades.
“Jamias’ leadership by remote control greatly contributed to the incidents in City Hall, which the Philippine National Police leadership chose to ignore and thereafter hastily concluded to file charges,” Quicho said.
He suggested for Jamias and his men to undergo “a refresher course on the meaning of order and advice to avoid confusion.” He said that Jamias was following the “cheap gimmickry” of his boss—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
“The Vice President understands the police officers’ predicament of following an order or advice but reserves his right to protect the people and vindicate the wrong done to them,” Quicho said.
He also said that Jamias’ track record was “not new” to Binay.
“While he was previously commended for his performance back in 1999, the name of Jamias has been subsequently dragged in alleged illegal activities exposed in media. This is the same police officer who commanded the excessive and exaggerated presence of the police at City Hall,” he said.