Are politicians exempted to follow the rules? This question arose after Makati Mayor and Vice Presidential son Junjun Binay allegedly ordered arrest of 3 guards at a posh Makati village.
According to a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), four-car convoy of Binay was prevented by the three guards to exit through a restricted gate in Dasmariñas Village in Makati on November 30. As per village rules, the said (Banyan) gate is closed by 10:00 pm for exiting residents and guests but they can pass through the Palm Exit, which is 150 meters away from the Banyan gate, after 10:00 PM. The incident was captured by the closed circuit television (CCTV) installed near the area. The video, which was posted on YouTube by the Inquirer, has gone viral.
According to the PDI source, the mayor stepped out of the lead vehicle after two security guards manning the Banyan Road gate on McKinley Road did not lift the iron barrier to allow the convoy to pass. “The mayor went down from the lead car and asked the guards, ‘Don’t you know me?’” the source told the Inquirer.
One of the mayor’s security personnel allegedly loaded a handgun and cocked it, while another one carried a rifle. After a few minutes before policemen in uniform, armed with M-16 rifles, arrived. They lifted the gate’s barrier and ‘arrested’ the two guards and Virgilio Robang, the village’s security officer in charge.
The Makati policemen denied the allegations that the security personnel were detained. Supt. Manuel Lucban, Makati City Police head, told the Inquirer in a phone interview that the guards were brought to the police headquarters for verification purposes.
“We wanted to verify if the permits of their firearms were in order and [we did not file] charges. They were eventually released,” Lucban said.
Right Eight Security, the agency outsourced for the village’s security, said the issue has been settled and apologies were sent out to Binay. They admitted that there were lapses in their procedure.
The subdivision management also confirmed that the President, VP and the City Mayor are the ones allowed access to these gates. Even if these gates are closed, they should be opened.
On the other hand, Binay’s camp strongly denied reports that the mayor ordered the arrest of the three guards, stating that they went to the police station voluntarily. Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado also denied the report that the mayor uttered the words, “Kilala n’yo ba ako?” as claimed by the unnamed PDI source. “This is false and downright malicious. On the contrary, the mayor went down his vehicle and said: Si Mayor Binay ako. Baka pwedeng makiraan lang.”
Netizens reacted to the incident, saying that no one should be above the law. Even politicians must follow rules, even a village rules and regulations. They lauded the Dasma Village security personnel for doing their job well, and their preventing of the mayor’s convoy, shouldn’t be misconstrued as being discourteous to the mayor, as his father VP Jejomar Binay pointed out in interviews.
Some netizens, however, say that an incident published three weeks after, could be malicious and politically motivated. The old Binay has been vocally expressing his desire to run in the 2016 presidential elections in several interviews.