President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday ordered Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to file charges against an Iloilo town mayor and his congressman-son for allegedly mauling a policeman
The President’s order came as 28 policemen in the town of Guimbal asked to be reassigned following the beating inflicted on PO3 Federico Macaya by Mayor Oscar Garin Sr. and his son, Iloilo 1st District Rep. Richard Garin, husband of former Health Secretary Jeanette Garin.
READ: Iloilo town mayor, solon son face raps for beating up cop
“Even if the policeman was at fault, it’s not a reason, especially [for] a police officer, to be mauled. I just read it from the newspaper. So, they will have to file the case. Direct assault,” Duterte told reporters in an interview in Albay after visiting the wake of slain congressman Rodel Batocabe.
“I will ask General Año to take a look at why it happened and investigate. But I’m not urging him. I’m ordering him to file a case against the two—the father and son,” he said.
Police said the father and son reportedly took Macaya to the Guimbal Public Plaza in Iloilo, disarmed and handcuffed him. Then the mayor held Macaya at gunpoint while the congressman slapped, kicked and spat at him.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of the Western Visayas Regional Police, ordered the relief of Police Senior Inspector Antonio Monreal, chief of the Guimbal municipal police station, who was at the incident, for his failure to arrest the Garins.
“I have nothing personal against the Garins, but I have grounds and responsibility to support my personnel and to protect and uplift the image of the police organization,” Bulalacao said.
He also requested the cancellation of the mayor’s authority over the local police and recalled the congressman’s two police escorts.
In a previous statement, the younger Garin apologized to the PNP, promising that he will take full responsibility for his actions.
“I sincerely ask for your forgiveness of what I did. I reiterate my apologies for my actions, which I take full responsibility,” the congressman said.
The lawmaker said the actions he committed were not directed at the PNP and its other officers and personnel.
“My actions were merely a display of extreme frustration towards one, single PNP personnel, which to my judgment committed a great disservice to the people of Guimbal,” he said, explaining that he was only “upset” with Macaya for asking a victim to withdraw a complaint against a suspect, the son of a councilor who figured in a scuffle.
Still, Bulalacao said that they would file charges of physical injuries, alarm, and scandal, direct assault against an agent of person in authority, and grave coercion against the two Garins.
Police in Guimbal town has asked to be relieved to avoid any confrontation with the Garins.
Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, angered by the beating, ordered the cancellation of all firearm permits issued to the Garins.
Albayalde also endorsed the withdrawal of Mayor Garin’s supervision and control over the local police.
Police records show that the congressman has 11 registered firearms, three of which have expired licenses. His father, the mayor, owns eight firearms, five of which have expired licenses.
These firearms would be confiscated, Albayalde said.
“I cannot in conscience let this abuse and oppression pass without justice. I am directing the PNP Legal Service to provide legal assistance to PO3 Macaya in his complaint and possible counter charges by the respondents,” Albayalde said.
House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez on Thursday warned that Congressman Garin may face an ethics complaint at the House of Representatives.
But Suarez said a formal complaint should be formally filed against the congressman before the House Committee on Ethics, chaired by AGRI Party-list Rep. Delphine Lee Gan.
“If there is a complaint, yes [it can be investigated], but we need a valid complaint. Maybe from one of the members or to be filed at the House and a congressman will endorse it,” Suarez said at a news conference.
Suarez admitted that he is a good friend of Richard Garin and his wife, and said authorities should determine what triggered his anger.
Año, meanwhile, said Garin’s authority over the police would be withdrawn.
“What the congressman and the mayor did was abuse of authority and display of arrogance; a conduct unbecoming of men in authority and well-deserving of punishment. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior and will order the removal of Mayor Garin’s deputation authority over the Guimbal police once the investigation results are out,” Año said in a news release Thursday.
Año said appropriate criminal and administrative cases will be filed against the Garins, including the congressman, in the Office of the Ombudsman or the courts as soon as the investigations are concluded.
“The President himself was so disappointed and I will ensure that his order to file cases against the Garins will be complied with immediately,” he said. With PNA