Erap, dads to swap raps with MPD exec
Rey Galupo, Sandy Araneta (The Philippine Star) - February 9, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for mayor of Manila, and five councilors seeking re-election under his ticket are set to swap charges against a Manila Police District (MPD) station commander over an allegedly violent confrontation in Paco on Feb. 6.

Estrada and District 5 Councilors Cristina Isip, Rafael Borromeo, Eric Valbuena, Ric Ibay and Mon Yupangco plan to file an administrative complaint for serious misconduct and abuse of authority with the National Police Commission and a criminal case for grave coercion and interruption of peaceful assembly with the Office of the Ombudsman against MPD Station 5 chief Senior Superintendent Ferdinand Quirante and his men, according to Councilor Jong Isip.

Quirante, on the other hand, has filed charges of violating Batas Pambansa 880 (the law on peaceful assembly) and Ordinance 4708 (which penalizes noise pollution) as well as obstructing the free flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic against the councilors.

Tambiolo trouble

Isip said they were holding a raffle for residents of Barangay 683 on the night of Feb. 6 and the police officers allegedly tried to stop the raffle and threatened to arrest Cristina Isip, Borromeo, Valbuena, Ibay and Yupangco.

When the councilors resumed the raffle following the interruption, Quirante reportedly grabbed the tambiolo, a rotating container that holds numbered balls or tickets.

“They took the tambiolo by force,” he said.

Isip said that when Quirante grabbed the tambiolo, Cristina Isip and Borromeo were reportedly hurt. He said the female councilor’s right arm became swollen and her blood pressure shot up.

Borromeo fractured his right wrist, Isip said. The two councilors were brought to the Ospital ng Maynila for treatment, he added.

The councilors, however, did not mention any plans to file physical injury charges against Quirante.

Lim hands off on case

The mayor’s chief of staff, Ric de Guzman, said Lim had no knowledge of the order to stop the assembly and only asked him to issue a statement on the incident. De Guzman described the confrontation as a “police matter.”

Quirante, in a sworn statement dated Feb. 7, said he received “numerous complaints” from concerned citizens about councilors who were allegedly creating noise and inconveniencing the public by setting up a stage and a public address system at the intersection of General Luna and Merced streets on the night of Feb. 6.

He said he sent Inspector Robert Bunayog to check on the complaint and the police officer reported seeing one of the councilors delivering a speech and obstructing the flow of traffic. Bunayog talked with the organizers, but they refused to stop, Quirante said.

The station commander said he then went to the area and asked local officials if they have a permit to hold the activity. He found out that the councilors were holding a raffle.

Quirante said when the councilors failed to show a permit, he confiscated the tambiolo used in the raffle but they resisted. Quirante alleged that Valbuena even challenged him and the other police officers to a fistfight.

Estrada weighs in

The former president said he is convinced that Lim had a hand in the incident because the policemen will not act without the approval of higher authorities.

“Who is on top at the Manila City Hall? This is not the first incident that my supporters were harassed. This is actually the fourth time. I don’t think they will act by themselves,” he said.

Isip said the police officers failed to present any court order when they also threatened to arrest them.

“They told us that they had no warrants but only an order from the top. There is no other explanation for this, but dirty tricks politics. They have no warrant or order for them to legitimately stop an activity that we in our role as councilors regularly do,” Borromeo said.– With Jose Rodel Clapano


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