Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay accused of roughing up police officers

Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay was accused by Manila police on Wednesday of roughing up officers during a brawl that left several people hurt.
Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay was accused by Manila police on Wednesday of roughing up officers during a brawl that left several people hurt.PHOTO: THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MANILA (AFP) - Elderly Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay was accused by Manila police on Wednesday of roughing up officers during a brawl that left several people hurt.

The fracas broke out after police tried to serve a special prosecutor's order suspending the Vice-President's son from his post as mayor of the Makati financial district of the city.

The suspension was ordered over a corruption case also allegedly involving his father.

"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 of the melee, parts of which aired on television.

"I saluted him but he didn't return it right away. He pointed at my nameplate and said I was there only to drag him out of city hall," Supt Jamias told a news conference.

Police leaders said they were studying possible criminal charges against the elder Mr Binay and his bodyguards.

The Vice-President, 73, has denied he laid a hand on any police officer during the Monday night confrontation in Makati.

Television footage showed Mr Binay, who plans to run for president in next year's elections, angrily jabbing his forefinger at Supt Jamias.

Other footage showed alleged Binay supporters throwing plastic chairs at a phalanx of riot police, who took cover behind their shields.

A second officer, Chief Inspector Gideon Ines, accused the elder Mr Binay of grabbing him by the collar and the Vice-President's bodyguards of striking him on the chest.

The younger Mr Binay was ordered suspended for six months on Monday by the Ombudsman, who is investigating both father and son over allegations they took kickbacks from contractors for a school building.

Mr Binay's son Jejomar Erwin Binay rejected the ruling as politically motivated and barricaded himself inside city hall with supporters.

Police allege the Vice-President, a former Makati mayor, later went there and helped his son defy the authorities.

Surveys show the elder Mr Binay is among the front-runners to succeed President Benigno Aquino who ends his six-year term in June next year.

The younger Mr Binay left city hall on Wednesday to end the two-day stand-off.

The Mr Binay family has ruled Makati since 1986, endearing its members to the masses with unparallelled benefits such as free college education, medicine, movies and birthday cakes.

The elder Mr Binay capitalised on this populist theme to propel himself to the country's second-highest post in 2010 and fortify a political dynasty that includes two of the vice-president's daughters elected to parliament.

The Makati Business Club criticised the Binays' defiance that it said led to the violence.