“For a man’s house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man’s home is his safest refuge].”
— Lawyer and Politician Sir Edward Coke (pronounced Cook) in The Institutes of the Laws of England, 1628
CHICAGO (FAXXNA/jGLi) – The recent incident of Makati Mayor Erwin “Jun Jun” Binay using his naked power to trespass on the exclusive Dasmarinas village of Makati and the pronouncement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to kill a suspected rice smuggler are really symptoms of a society ignoring people’s civil rights that traditional Filipino politicians (trapos) employ just to attract public attention.
When Mayor Binay and his entourage forced their way into the village, it was no different than the king of England intruding into the private home of a commoner in 17th Century England.
This Makati incident reminded me of the lack of foresight of Senate President Franklin Drilon in the aftermath of the 9/11 New York Tower attack that put in place strict security precautions on visitors coming to America.
The story goes that when an airport security officer asked Senator Drilon to take out his shoes during the screening at the U.S. airport, instead of removing his shoes, Drilon protested because the security officer, who happened to be a Filipino American, did not recognize him and, therefore, did not give him the courtesy of waiving the requirement to remove his shoes.
This is the problem with some of our Filipino politicians. If they want courtesy extended to them, they should find a way to avoid public embarrassment.
Mayor Binay could have called the management of the village to a meeting and tell the management that in the future if his entourage is snarled in a traffic jam because he could no longer use wang-wang (sirens), his entourage should be allowed to make a beeline in one of the streets leading inside the village. But the management should agree with one condition: the Mayor’s party should call ahead!
VICE PRESIDENT GORE DID NOT SEEK SPECIAL TREATMENT
Likewise, as one of the American diplomatic officials suggested, if Drilon or any Philippine government official would like to have a special treatment at the U.S. port of entry, they should coordinate with their Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs officials, who will make the necessary arrangement with the U.S. Embassy in Manila and relay the arrangement to the Philippine Consulate nearest the airport.
A representative of the Consulate would alert the nearest airport U.S. officials and meet the visiting Filipino official in the VIP lounge and escort him outside the airport without removing his shoes.
Even former U.S. Vice President Al Gore removed his shoes when asked by a U.S. airport security officer to do so. Why would Senate President Drilon be an exception?
Drilon should have even commended the surprised Filipino American security officer for doing his job. And even if the Filipino security officer would recognize him, the officer would still have to get the clearance of his supervisor, who might still deny him the courtesy.
In the same way, Mayor Binay should have sent letters of commendation to the three village security officers for a job well done, instead of “inviting them,” a euphemism used under Martial Law when Marcos would summon and intimidate critics, short of arresting them.
But the Mayor’s sister, Sen. Nancy Binay, 39, who was part of the entourage at the time, missed an opportunity to exercise “moral ascendancy,” by telling her 35-year-old younger brother to respect the privacy of the village. I’m sure she would have earned plaudits, not scorn.
And even the call of Mayor’s father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, telling the village security officers to give his son “courtesy” after the incident became public was not very sobering either.
I am sure this issue will not go away when Vice President Binay would make a run in 2016 for the office of President Aquino, whose first order of business was to rid the country of “wang-wang.” Vice President Binay really owes the three security officers an apology for not recognizing their good deeds as they stood their ground.
THE MORE A U.S. PRESIDENT IS RE-ELECTED, THE MORE HE IS HUMBLE
I remember a quote from President Obama after he was re-elected although not an exact one: “The more a President of the U.S. is re-elected, the more he becomes humble.”
If Binay is just a Vice President and he cannot be humble to security guards and ordinary voters, whom President Aquino calls “my boss,” how much more if he becomes President?
In the case of Davao City Mayor Duterte, if he has become jaded and disillusioned with the brazenness of some of his constituents, who would resort to stealing rice at the expense of the poor farmers, causing him to publicly declare, “I will kill you,” referring to the smuggler, has he forgotten it that as a lawyer and elected public official, he swore to uphold the law when he was installed as mayor?
One of these laws that he had to uphold was the opportunity to provide a criminal suspect with a lawyer of his choice as part of his civil and human rights, not a bullet!
If he really wants the smuggler’s blood, he should first advocate for reinstatement of the death penalty that has long been abolished.
And if he really wants to catch the smuggler and other criminals in his jurisdiction, he should hire good, human-rights sensitive detectives from good criminology schools, who are good at gathering forensic evidence to nail down the criminals. He can even send some of these detectives overseas to learn new investigative techniques that would forestall false arrest. Or he can invite good investigators from overseas to teach his investigators ways to solve even very cold crime cases.
And of course, Duterte has to provide state-of-the-art equipment to the police, which can easily detect discrepancies in fingerprints, DNA’s, photos, biometrics, etc. that can isolate false evidence from the real McCoy.
I know Mayor Duterte appears to be an advocate of “negative utilitarianism,” which is a reduction of suffering (for the disadvantaged) to be more valuable than increased pleasure (for the affluent or luxurious) or the “end-justify-the-means” variety. But the last I heard, the Philippines is still very much adherent of the deontological ethics that judges the morality of an action based on the action’s adherence to a rule or rules.