MANILA • Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay was accused by police yesterday of roughing up officers during a brawl that left several people hurt, even as he officially launched his new political party.
The fracas broke out on Monday night after Manila police tried to serve a special prosecutor's order suspending the Vice-President's son, Mr Jejomar Erwin Binay Jr, from his post as mayor of the Makati financial district.
The suspension was ordered over a corruption case that allegedly involves both father and son. They have been accused of taking kickbacks from contractors for a school building.
"I thought I was face to face with a vice-president who supported the police, but it was the opposite. He mocked my being a policeman," Senior Superintendent Elmer Jamias said at a news conference.
NO RESPECT FOR COP
I thought I was face to face with a vice-president who supported the police, but it was the opposite. He mocked my being a policeman.
SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT ELMER JAMIAS, on Vice-President Jejomar Binay
The Vice-President, 72, has denied he laid a hand on any police officer during the confrontation. But television footage showed him angrily jabbing his forefinger at Senior Supt Jamias.
Other footage showed alleged Binay supporters throwing plastic chairs at riot police.
A second officer, Chief Inspector Gideon Ines, accused the elder Mr Binay of grabbing him by the collar. He also accused the Vice- President's bodyguards of striking him on the chest.
Police leaders said they were studying possible criminal charges against the elder Mr Binay and his bodyguards.
On Monday, the younger Mr Binay was ordered suspended for six months by the Ombudsman. He rejected the ruling as politically motivated and barricaded himself inside the city hall with supporters. Police say the father later went there and helped his son defy the authorities.
The son left the city hall yesterday to end the two-day stand-off.
The elder Mr Binay plans to run for president next year. He held a rally yesterday to launch his new party, the United Nationalist Alliance, which will be the opposition's main political vehicle. Among its stars is boxer and congressman Manny Pacquiao, who was at the rally. AGENCE FRANCE- PRESSE