By Jego Ragracio, as originally posted at Just the facts, ma’am (On Mayor Junjun Binay
It’s one thing for people to defend Mayor Junjun Binay from criticism after video footage of an incident between the Mayor and his men on one side, and security guards of Dasmarinas Village on the other. It’s understandable; after all, Mayor Junjun has been described by some as shy and unassuming, so how could he possibly be some monster who throws his weight around arrogantly by asking people, “Di mo ba ako kilala?”
It is, however, an entirely different situation where people dismiss criticism as mere rumor-mongering or biases, or where people attempt to connect this to an entirely unrelated subject such as “social segregation.” The former amounting little more to “Biased ka, kaya mali ka,” and the latter being little more than an indulgent exercise in attempts at academic discourse. In either case, people have quite missed the point of why this incident blew up: by popular understanding of what happened, it is an incident where one who is, in fact, rich and powerful uses his power to subvert private property guidelines; what’s more, he bullies hapless security guards – likely from poor communities themselves – with the help of the local police who are under his supervision, and places the guards under arrest. All of which is kept under wraps and in the quiet, never to be made public, but for the Philippine Daily Inquirer running the story.
Granted, the stories surrounding the incident, dubbed “Dasmagate,” are polar opposites. The Inquirer article tells a story of a Mayor unwilling to be redirected to another gate, on the simple premise of being Mayor of Makati, and summoning the Makati police to ensure that the guards never – eeeeeeeeever – forget the name “Mayor Junjun Binay.” The Binay camp, on the other hand, offers a riveting tale security guards surrounding the Mayor’s convoy, of tensions between the security guards and the Mayor’s aides, voluntary trips to the Makati police headquarters, and privately-settled issues. It is a fascinating contrast, and without evidence either way, it would be easy to dismiss the issue as one of bad upper-class press versus good upper-class PR.
Oh, wait. There IS evidence.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, particularly a high-definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) system, the nation has a front-row seat to the events as they unfolded. Feel free to check the video for yourself.
Everything that can be seen in the video can be taken for fact. For example, it is a fact that the convoy spent 15 minutes trying to exit at Banyan gate, which they eventually did after the security guards rode in police squad cars. Similarly, it was a fact that the umbrella-carrying aide ran back to his vehicle to get a gun, and in fact also cocked the same, when another aide started becoming aggressive against one of the security guards. It is also a fact that the Mayor’s aides pulled out guns long before any backup security arrived. There are so many more facts we can glean from the video. You can check out what an expert has observed and see if you saw the same things.
The video, however, does not tell the whole story. By this I mean that there are other facts surrounding this incident that are important to know in order to properly contextualize (factually, not sociologically) what happened.
Facts such as the existence of two other exit gates at the time of the incident, one of which was a mere 150 meters away from the Banyan St. gate.
Facts such as the Constitutional duty of a public officer (such as an elected Mayor) to “be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”
Facts such as the duty of a city Mayor under the Local Government Code, Sec. 455 (b) (2), to “(e)nforce all laws and ordinances relative to the governance of the city, x x x. ” Speaking of which…
Facts such as the existence of Republic Act No. 9904, or the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations, and how it provides, under Sec. 10 (d), the following right and power of a homeowner’s association such as Dasmariñas Village:
“(d) Regulate access to, or passage through the subdivision/village roads for purposes of preserving privacy, tranquility, internal security, safety and traffic order: Provided, That: (1) public consultations are held; (2) existing laws and regulations are met; (3) the authority of the concerned government agencies or units are obtained; and (4) the appropriate and necessary memoranda of agreement are executed among the concerned parties;”
Facts such as rulings in case law, in particular Sanchez v. Demitriou, where our Court declared that an “invitation” from a person of authority is understood, “not as a strictly voluntary invitation which it purports to be, but as an authoritative command which one can only defy at his peril.”
Facts such as the open support of the Dasmariñas Village for the guards involved.
From all these facts, is it now unreasonable to draw factual inferences?
For example, what can we infer from the fact that, instead of turning around and exiting at a gate 150 meters away, the Binay convoy chose to become aggressive with the security guards, called in the Makati police, and placed the guards under what case law deems as an arrest?
Another: what can we infer from the fact that Vice President Jejomar Binay stated that Mayor Junjun Binay deserved “some courtesy” and should have been allowed to pass through, in violation of the homeowners’ association rules? What can we further infer from the fact that the Vice President is the current head of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, the government agency mandated to implement the Magna Carta for Homeowners and Homeowners’ Associations?
Any side of the political fence can spin this however they want, for their own ends. But at the end of the day, the facts, even just the facts, speak rather loud and clear.
Juan G. M. Ragragio is a thirtysomething year-old nerd/geek hybrid who blogs athttp://raggster.wordpress.com and tweets athttps://twitter.com/raggster. When not online, he either attends law school at the University of the Philippines College of Law or stays home inventing new ways to use chicken noodle soup.