MANILA (4th UPDATE)—A mayor and his lawmaker-son mauled a policeman in a town in Iloilo early Wednesday morning, police said.
Guimbal town mayor Oscar Garin and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Richard Garin, husband of former Health Secretary Janette Garin, reportedly summoned a certain PO3 Federico Macaya and later beat him up.
The Garins reportedly struck Macaya in different parts of his body while he was "disarmed, body-searched and handcuffed at gunpoint."
Western Visayas Regional Police director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao said charges of physical injuries, alarm and scandal, direct assault against an agent of person in authority, and grave coercion will be filed against Garin and his son.
"I told Congressman Garin that I'm taking this incident as an affront to me. I will not let this pass without taking action against them," Bulalacao said in a statement, adding that he has recalled the Garins' police escorts and requested for the cancellation of mayor Garin's deputation over the police.
Bulalacao said the younger Garin has apologized to him, which Bulalacao has accepted, but added this will not stop his men from filing charges.
"Tumawag sa ’kin si Cong. Garin (called) to apologize this morning. Sabi ko naman sa kaniya, I will accept your apology but I cannot commit to you that my men cannot file charges against you. Depende sa kanila ’yun, karapatan nila ’yun (It depends on them, that is their right)," he told radio DZMM.
Bulalacao said the incident stemmed from a skirmish last December 22 involving two others and the younger Garin.
According to Bulalacao, Richard Garin said he wanted charges to be filed against a man who threw a bottle of beer against another person.
"Sinabi niya sa ’kin nagalit daw siya, sinuntok daw niya ’yung pulis dahil di daw sila sinunod. Dahil gusto raw nilang sampahan ng kaso ’yung suspek doon sa December 22 mauling incident," Bulalacao said.
(He told me that he got mad, he punched the police officer because he did not obey them. Because they want to file charges against the suspect in a December 22 mauling incident.)
"Kaya lang sabi ng pulis yung victim naman ang ayaw magsampa ng kaso dahil ayaw na nga raw malaman ng magulang nila na nasasangkot siya sa gulo na ganito."
(The police officer said it was the victim who refused to file charges because he doesn't want his parents to know about the incident.)
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Oscar Albayalde said his first order to Bulalacao was to relieve the Guimbal chief of police of his duties and request for the cancellation of the mayor's deputation over local police.
"Napakasakit po niyan, parang ika nga ikaw po ay ’yung anak mo mismo ang nasaktan lalong lalo na buong PNP ang tinamaan po d’yan kaya po napakasakit po n’yan," he told radio DZMM.
(It really hurts because it's like your child was hurt, especially the whole PNP was affected that's why the incident really hurts.)
"Ang masakit ay itong mga ’to ay elected officials pa. Ang masakit talaga dito ay binoto ng mga tao."
(What really hurts is that these are elected officials, they were voted by the people.)
In a statement, the younger Garin apologized to the PNP and said 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. However, I just would like to clarify that my actions are not directed to the PNP as an institution, or against its officers and personnel," he said.
"My actions were merely display of extreme frustration towards one, single PNP personnel, which to my judgment committed a great disservice to the people of Guimbal."
Garin said the policeman's settling of the case of the two minors involved in the December 22 skirmish was "betrayal of public trust."
The suspect, who he described as a "habitual delinquent" has a pending case for murder, Garin said.
"Instead of filing a case, the police let the victim sign a withdrawal. This, in spite that the law states it very clear that the case must be filed in court," he said.
"What the police did in settling the case is a betrayal of public trust and a clear abuse of his position. What he did is against the policy of the PNP not to meddle in settling both camps in a criminal case."
Investigation is ongoing while 29 police officers and the police chief have been relieved. The Provincial Mobile Force Battalion temporarily replaced the Guimbal Police Station. —With a report from Regi Adosto, ABS-CBN News