This is about the current trending topic that kept media networks and netizens abuzz – the incident involving the Binay siblings and security guards of Dasmariñas Village.
This is merely my perspective as a certified protection professional, technical security design and risk management consultant. And my stand as a former aide de camp, convoy security officer, and diplomat security aide; village, estate, property and facilities manager; and regional security director of an international hotel chain.
I thought of hearing first from the office of the Mayor of Makati, Dasmariñas Village security, Makati Chief of Police, and Right Eight Security agency their side of the story when I read the Philippine Daily Inquirer article and saw the CCTV video. But since they have made statements to the public already, I rather take their statements as their version of truth or shallow alibis.
Anyway, if a picture paints a thousand words, a 15-minute video paints a million.
Part 1 – Thousand-words picture
For those who are in for a quick read of this article, here are my thoughts:
It could have been prevented if a staff of the mayor or the senator coordinated with the village officers. A quick and simple coordination with the village office could have accorded the mayor and the senator courtesies due them. If I were the village manager, I would have assigned one mobile guard as escort or liaison officer considering that they are also guests of the village.
Granting that coordination is not part of the practices of the mayor’s or senator’s group or convoy, and they find themselves in that situation as shown in the video:
- The village guards could have allowed the passage after verifying the identity of the VIPs, and just made an exemption report to the Security Head, citing the circumstances. The video showed one guard approaching the lead vehicle most likely to explain the village rules. However, the village made it an absolute rule and the guards held their ground to keep their jobs. The guards choose to obey the rules of the one that pays their salaries. It’s the village paying their agencies, and not the people in the convoy.
- If the convoy cannot respect the uniformed security guards on duty, the convoy could have extended courtesy to the village rules and regulation instead by opting to use the other exit gate. However, the 4-car convoy had already squeezed themselves too close that backing up is the only option to get to the other gate. Sad to say, based on body language of cars and persons in the video, the convoy expected the boom barrier to rise and let them quickly leave the premises. Surprised by the actions of the guards, some alighted from the SUVs to manhandle the posted gate guards. Under duress, the guards called for reinforcement.
What would I do if I am in the shoes of the following?
As the Village Manager
I will recommend to the Board of Directors of the homeowners association the immediate change of agency but retention of the guards. I don’t want an agency with owners who are sycophants of politicians and who will contradict village rules. The agency, represented by its owners or management, cannot speak for the village and for the Homeowners’ Association. The agency should not contradict the statement and position of the village homeowners, especially in public. If the agency thinks and really believes that there were lapses by its security guards, then I will remove the agency ASAP for committing their claimed lapses. I will commend the guards for doing their job, their post duties and responsibilities, and for alerting mobile responders under duress.
I will consult our legal counsel to see if there were violations of law. I saw unlawful arrest and detention here. The whole incident as shown in the video is full of tension, coercion, and manhandling by both escorts and responding policemen. If it is simply an invitation, then the guards could have given their statements on their own time under the consent of the agency and village officers. The police chief publicly said that the guards were only invited for “clarification and custodial inquiry” and to verify their firearms. Such euphemism for the arrest of three. The police should have invited all guards who they accused as threats to the mayor and senator. If the guards were invited to verify their firearms, then the police should also check the firearms of all guards on duty in Makati, not singling out the three village guards. The mayor and the police are mandated to uphold the rule of law, not to settle and forget such incident that also compromised the security of the village.
I will also investigate why CCTV video recording was taken out from the village premises and given to Philippine Daily Inquirer. I will demand an audit of village security management system.
As a citizen
I will request the mayor and the senator to retrain or replace their security personnel who placed them in harm’s way. The security escorts failed to coordinate with the village admin office their departure through a restricted gate. The lead vehicle assumed that they are exempted from following village rules because they are in a convoy with the city mayor and a senator. The lead car entrapped itself in front of the boom barrier, guard house, and steel gate. The other drivers parked their vehicles too close to each other that they cannot simply maneuver without backing up. The security escorts failed to secure their perimeter the moment the convoy was stopped and especially after the mayor alighted. One escort was busy with umbrella for the gentlemen mayor but not for the lady senator. The escorts exposed the mayor to the risk of being injured or killed by several 2000-pound weapons that were passing the street in high speed. They exposed the mayor and the senator for 15 minutes to a potential shoot-out instead of extricating the convoy out of the scene. They revealed that they move around with unloaded weapons. The escorts, especially the one in vest, acted in an arrogant manner – manhandling the uniformed security guards, grabbing the logbook, and treating the supposed “force multipliers” as criminals, threat forces, or enemies.
I will ask for the relief of the police chief who obviously came up with “after the fact” justifications that contradicted each other and the actions of his policemen as seen in the video. He tried hard to justify the actions of the escorts and policemen by saying that the guards showed their shotguns. I still have to see a guard holstering or concealing his shotgun while on duty. Is the chief of police serving only the mayor or the people?
Some Makati policemen have been noted to treat security guards badly and without respect. During the Burgundy Condo management row, a number of Makati police rounded up the security guards like prisoners of war. How will these policemen then treat ordinary citizens? The police force of Makati is expected to be one of the best in the country and this incident tainted such image.
As village resident or homeowner
I will ask my homeowner association to consult legal minds on the incident. I pay personal taxes and my businesses pay taxes to the local government to provide me the services and respect I deserve. I pay association dues to protect my family, residence, and village from any form of harm and threat. Someone has to pay for this incident. I didn’t pay guards to spend four hours in police custody or waiting for a ride back to their posts. I will question the capability of the agency owners to provide services to my village since they cannot provide vehicle or taxi fare for the “invited” guards to go back to their post.
I will also ask for explanation why private data in the form of CCTV video recording was taken out from the village premises and given to Philippine Daily Inquirer. I will demand an audit of village security management system.
Based on the video and published statements of stakeholders, I believe the security guards followed to the letter their post duties and responsibilities. I believe the source of PDI than the spokesman of the city hall and the chief of police who contradicted each other. I believe in what I saw in the video. I have nothing against the spokesman and the police chief. I have no involvement with any security agency or security hardware vendor.
As independent security design and risk management consultant
I will study the incident thoroughly and share lessons learned to the stakeholders. The result of such study is in part two of this piece.