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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My Encounter with an MMDA Traffic Enfor... Extortionist

Read this on the Philippine Daily Inquirer website this morning…
MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chair Bayani Fernando is hurting over a Court of Appeals decision that described the agency as having an “iron-hearted stance” when it comes to its sidewalk clearing operations.

In reaction to the court’s Feb. 27 ruling ordering the MMDA to pay P50,000 in damages to a woman whose sari-sari store was demolished by the agency in 2005, Fernando Monday said it was unfair for the CA to use such a term.

“When the court makes a decision, does it mean [it’s] iron-hearted? Maraming involved dun [There are a lot of things involved there], it’s not a personal decision. I wish the court would not say those things because it’s damaging to our institution,” he told the Inquirer (parent company of

“The court cannot accuse us of being arbitrary and high-handed. Tingin namin wala kaming pagkakamali [In our opinion, we did nothing wrong]. We have to bring this up to the Supreme Court because we don’t want our people to be unjustly blamed,” Fernando said.

The appellate court’s decision reversed a ruling by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Dec. 19, 2007, which said the MMDA had the right to demolish Gloria Fenol’s store because it was built on the sidewalk which, according to the lower court, was government property. The appellate court, however, said Fenol’s store, which was located on Edsa, Cubao, was built on private property.

The court stressed that the MMDA should have “exercised more caution and should have refrained from showing their iron-hearted stance” when Fenol presented documents to show that the store was on private property.

Fernando, meanwhile, said that in Fenol’s case, the MMDA might have found violations on easements.

“It’s not as simple as having a permit because there are regulations. It was a judgment call made by my men when they removed the store,” he added.

Fernando said that despite all the flak they have been getting and attempts to harm their men, the MMDA would remain relentless in dismantling all kinds of obstructions to help ease road traffic.


It was a little over a month ago when I was issued a traffic violation ticket (ARBITRARILY) by an IRON-HEARTED and HIGH-HANDED MMDA Traffic Enforcer, a new recruit at that.

It was for a supposed YELLOW LANE violation.

I said “supposed” because I was intending to make a turn and went inside the yellow lane (Note: I was within a portion of the yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed when I did so). It just so happened that I changed my mind and decided to take the next turn.

But before I can get out of the yellow lane again and WHILE I WAS STILL WITHIN the portion of yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed, the high-handed traffic enforcer pulled me over and told me that I violated the law.

I tried talking to the guy in a civilized manner explaining to him how I DIDN’T violate any law… but there’s no reasoning with the guy. He kept on telling me that I had committed a violation. He told me that I should have made the turn.

Then he asked me TWICE if he should issue me a ticket.

Now, we all know what that means!

So, I blew my top off and raised my voice at him.

I don’t know what it was with the guy, but for quite a while he didn’t seem to notice that I was already fuming mad.

When I was asking my wife for money after sarcastically asking him if he wants me to bribe him, the creep (clueless as he seemed to be) managed to utter the all-too-common line that his kind uses: “Baka ho labag sa kalooban niyo yan, bago lang po ako dito, baka isumbong niyo po ako.” (Are you sure that’s not against your will? I’m new here, you might report this against me.”) to which I replied "Parepareho kayo ng linya!" ("You guys use the same line!") To my surprise, the creep stood there still waiting for the money!!!

Knowing FOR SURE that I did not violate any law, I made a scene… an embarrassing scene, actually. I tried to give him what he was asking for in a not so discreet manner (read: Garapalan niyang hiningi, garapalan ko ring ibinibigay). Why should I bribe him if I didn’t commit any violation in the first place?!

So with all the people walking past us, I was asking him to take the money with a very loud voice, yelling at him hysterically.

I guess he noticed that he could get into trouble with what I was doing… he hurriedly left my side without saying a word, walked to the front of the car, and filled up my ticket.

But I wasn’t done yet.

I got out of the car and went after the creep and yelled at him some more saying “Abuso ka eh!!!” which caught the attention of many passersby.

“Naka-uniporme ako, sinisigawan mo ako?!” (“I’m a man in uniform and you dare shout at me?!) he yelled back.

“Bakit hindi?! Wala ka sa lugar eh! Abuso ka eh!” (“Why not?! You’re out of your line! You’re abusive!”) I growled.

He handed the ticket to me and declared that he’s confiscating my license.

Since I was left with no other choice, I let him.

As we were driving away, the creep continued to yell at me, which was understandable. However, his last sentence was unacceptable… “Bakit hindi mo nalang ako suntukin?!” (“Why don’t you just punch me?!”)

I’m not so naïve as to give him the upper hand by doing that… I had been counting my points against him and I already had four at that time.

First, I was within a portion of the yellow lane where private vehicles are allowed when he pulled me over.

Second, he told me that I should have made the turn. That means that I have not violated any law up to that point (he pulled me over while I was between the two corners of the street where I originally intended to make a turn). Either that or he meant that I should’ve made the turn so I can escape him.

Third, he asked me if he’s going to issue me a ticket (twice). If I DID violate any law, why is he asking me if he should issue me a ticket?

Fourth, he forced me to bribe him.

And fifth, he invited me to punch him.

So, I went to the MMDA headquarters to file a complaint. And what trouble it caused me… well, salary deductions to be more specific as I took three half-days off from work for it.

Well, to keep a long story short, the creep didn’t show up for the two hearings! In the end, my supposed violation was canceled and I now have my license back.

I was told by one of the staff at the MMDA headquarters that I can file a civil case against the guy if I wanted to. I would have done so if I wouldn’t have to take leave from my work every now and then.

I may have won the case, but I can’t help but feeling that I lost... for letting an EXTORTIONIST go scot-free…

Oh well...


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