LAWYER Francis Tolentino, chairman of Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), should be congratulated for standing by his man. He and his traffic aide, Jorbe Adriatico, are birds of the same feather , members of the tribe of honest public servants.
By defending his favorite traffic aide, Tolentino sent a message to every motorist in Metro Manila: under his turf, his men in blue are always right.
That no matter how a motorist rails against any of his men, he will never win because he will be pitting himself Tolentino, who will always be behind them. After all, Tolentino finds in Adriatico the honesty and competence of a traffic officer, who has not abused authority in implementing rules against erring drivers. The rest of MMDA’s traffic enforcers must be very happy with the two.
Yes, in getting strict with Metro Manila’s drivers and car owners, Tolentino is duplicating the discipline he imposed along the main road in Tagaytay City where he was once the mayor. In this city, you see tricycle drivers weave in and out of the fast lane to the consternation of other motorists.
Politicians don’t go against the people who can effectively unite against a politician’s ambition to get elected into public office. Like Tolentino, officials of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) strictly follow similar policy. We are very lucky if these public servants are to be believed that the owner of the controversial Maserati, a luxury car that is priced between P10 million and P12 million, was the only one driving a car not registered with LTO. Look around you to see how honest LTO imposers, like Tolentino and his traffic men, are.
In short, LTO people have never seen any other vehicle sans an LTO-issued plate except for the Maserati. Add to this the fact that there are no fake drivers’ licenses being produced openly in places known to the public but of which LTO people have never been aware of. Without the Maserati being carelessly driven along Metro Manila’s streets, we should at last feel safe even when we walk along the cities’ major thoroughfares.
Of course, LTO has gotten rid of Joseph Russel Ingco, the Maserati owner, who is a businessman according to published
reports. Its officials wanted him vanished from the road. Jason Castro, the agency’s honest spokesman for LTO’s honest officials, said they—he and his fellow LTO officials—have revoked the car owner’s license to drive for the good of public.
To LTO officials, there was and is only one Mr. Ingco on the road. Apparently, they meant to tell us that we should not even be afraid of the drivers of public utility vehicles because Tolentino and his LTO counterparts find them to be the most safety-conscious and disciplined drivers in this country.
Of course, LTO officials punished Mr. Ingco with revocation of his driver’s license by acting on the request of Tolentino. Apparently, the MMDA chief and his traffic enforcers saw Maserati and its owner to be the biggest threat to the lives of Metro Manilans and passers-by who happen to be driving their cars along the streets of the metropolis.
I am sorry to inform Mr. Ingo that from the very beginning of his encounter with Adriatico, he was bound to lose his privilege to drive because LTO people, like Tolentino and Adriatico, find your car too luxurious to be driven around carelessly. That’s how much they care for your Maserati!
Too bad, you have been a victim of the government’s policy of selective application of the law.
For the information of the public, Tolentino can afford to be as honest if not more honest than Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and President Benigno Simeon Aquino 3rd who appointed them because of his fat salary. The Commission on Audit reported that in 2013, he received P1,698,106 and 36 centavos.
Tolentino also is too gentleman a public servant to complain that he suffered a slight pay cut of P151,105, or 8.171 percent last year compared with his gross pay of P1,849,211 and 13 centavos in 2012.
Tolentino should be thankful, though, for his million pay and perks because Bayani Fernando, in his immediate predecessor’s last full year in office, did not get a million but only P988,731 in 2009.