MANILA (UPDATE)—Authorities will ask the interior department to strip an Iloilo mayor of his power over his town's police force after he and his son were accused of attacking a law enforcer, the regional police commander said Thursday.
Charges of physical injuries, assault to persons in authority, alarm and scandal and grave coercion are being prepared against Iloilo Rep. Richard Garin while a grave threat case is being prepared against Guimbal Mayor Oscar Garin, said Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, head of the Western Visayas police.
The Iloilo Provincial Police will also file administrative cases at the Office of the Ombudsman, such as grave misconduct, conduct unbecoming, oppression and abuse of authority, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the public.
Aside from the charges, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he will also endorse the case to Congress "and let them apply sanction to their colleague."
"I believe no amount of apology can make up for this abuse or arrogance. He will have his say to defend himself in the court and in the Ombudsman but we will continue filing the cases," Año told ANC.
He added that the National Police Commission en banc will meet on Friday and discuss the removal of Mayor Garin's deputation authority over local police.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez has said the Iloilo lawmaker may face proceedings before the House ethics committee if a case is filed against him.
“If there’s a complaint, yes, but we need a valid complaint from maybe one of the members or ifa-file dito pero dapat may mag-sponsor (it should be filed here and be sponsored)," he said.
According to Bulalacao, Rep. Garin handcuffed, kicked and spat on PO3 Federico Macaya aside from punching him at the Guimbal town plaza. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the interior department to file charges against father and son.
Macaya reportedly earned the ire of the Garins after a resident backed out of filing charges against the son of a municipal councilor over a scuffle last Saturday.
Bulalacao said Rep. Garin apologized to him over the phone.
"I accepted his apology but I could not bear how he degraded and humiliated our uniform and our profession as police officers. I could not imagine how a lowly PNP personnel in uniform was mauled helplessly," Bulalacao said in a statement.
The police chief of Guimbal, Senior Insp. Antonio Monreal, was relieved for "non-action and his failure to arrest" the Garins. The 2 police escorts of father and son were also recalled, said Bulalacao.
The lawmaker also fired his gun during the incident that had several witnesses, he said.
Macaya, who was kneeling and wearing his uniform when he was assaulted, is nursing a swollen cheek, abrasions on his arms, and a blood clot on his upper torso.
"Sobra namang kahihiyan ang naranasan ng aking pulis at sobrang pagyurak sa aming organisasyon ang ginawa niya," Bulalacao told radio DZMM.
(My officer experienced grave humiliation. What he did was trample on our organization.)
"Kaya sinabi ko sa kaniya, 'I am taking this as an affront, Congressman, to my leadership dito sa PNP'. I want our men to be filing charges against him," he added.
(I told him, 'I am taking this as an affront, Congressman, to my leadership here in the PNP'.)
Bulalacao said Monreal claimed he did not help Macaya to prevent a gun battle against the Garins and their armed bodyguards.
Investigators are also looking at whether or not the Garins are political opponents of the town councilor whose son they wanted charged, Bulalacao added.
Rep. Garin, the husband of former health Secretary Janette Garin, said he would 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 in a statement.
The lawmaker also said his actions "were merely display of extreme frustration" against an officer that "committed a great disservice to the people of Guimbal."
--With reports from Regi Adosto and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News