“Don’t you know me???” – Makati Mayor Junjun Binay arrests Dasma guards for enforcing rules

In the Philippines, all people are equal. It’s just that some people are more equal than others. This was proven again today when three security guards at the Banyan Street gate of the posh residential enclave of Dasmariñas Village in Makati City were reportedly arrested and detained by officers of the Makati Police on orders of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, son of Philippine Vice President and former Makati City mayor Jejomar Binay after he and his entourage riding in a four-car convoy were denied access. Binay’s sister Senator Nancy Binay was also a passenger in one of the vehicles, according to the Inquirer.net report.

Closed-circuit television cameras operated by North Forbes Park and Dasmariñas Village had, according to the same report, recorded the whole incident. The Banyan gate of Dasmariñas village is closed to motorists after 10 p.m. every night, a rule that is observed by “high-profile residents, such as senators, congressmen, [and] mayors and diplomats” according to an Inquirer source. But then the mayor’s motorcade was expecting access “close to midnight”…

The video clip showed that the mayor, who was in a polo shirt, 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.

Binay arrogance: Screencap of security video footage taken at the time of the incident
Binay arrogance: Screencap of security video footage taken at the time of the incident

Makati police officers later showed up, presumably responding to a call from Binay and “arrested the two guards and Virgilio Robang, the Dasmariñas Village security officer in charge.”

The report continues…

Before Robang was arrested with the two guards, Binay was seen talking to him with the mayor’s index finger pointed to Robang’s chest.

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.

Settled, apologies

“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.

Jay Pantangco, president of the Dasmariñas Village Homeowners Association, confirmed the incident between the guards and Binay. “But this has already been settled,” he said.

Pantangco declined to elaborate on the incident.

Ram Antonio, president of Right Eight Security, said the agency had already apologized to Binay.

“We have instructed our guards to apologize to the mayor and we have started a debriefing session,” Antonio said.

In a text message, Joey Salgado, City Hall spokesman, said the president of Right Eight had sent a letter to Binay and “apologized profusely for the incident.”

Filipino celebrities and politicians are renowned for their arrogance and their sense of being above most Philippine laws and any rules that apply within specific areas. Indeed, big credentials matter a lot in a non-thinking society like the Philippines — which is why attitudes exhibited by Mayor Binay in this incident are common and difficult if not impossible to eradicate.

President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III himself attempted to exemplify his administration’s upholding of a policy of no-special-treatment for anyone regardless of rank and social status presumably under the premise that all people are equal in the eyes of the law. At the beginning of his term, he emphasized elimination of the use of wang wangs (police sirens) by politicians and celebrities to muscle their way through Manila’s notoriously gridlocked streets even in non-emergency situations. Indeed, President BS Aquino even refused the use of personal motorcades when traveling by land to and from his office at the time, to demonstrate how he planned to live up to that policy.

Alas, midway through the term of what was supposed to be the government of the straight-and-narrow, little has been achieved as far as ingraining this egalitarian and rule-by-law ethic envisioned by the architects of the Second Aquino Administration.

[Photo courtesy Inquirer.net.]