THERE is a reason to believe that cases of assaults on unarmed traffic officers might be recurring more often.
The images of last year’s event involving business executive Robert Carabuena, who was caught on video berating and slapping a Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic aide could not escape the public’s memory, as a similar incident has occurred recently.
Over a year after the slapping video of Carabuena, the case of direct assault of MMDA Constable Saturnino Fabros filed against Carabuena has gathered dust at the Metropolitan Trial Court.
On Thursday morning, Joseph Russel Ingco instantly engaged Constable Jorbe Adriatico in an altercation when the trucking businessman was apprehended by the latter for making an illegal turn from Araneta Avenue into Quezon Avenue.
It was also caught in video when Ingco, who was driving a P7 million Maserati Ghibly, one of only two such sports cars in the country, started to flee while grabbing Adriatico by the collar, dragged him about two blocks down towards Sct. Chuatoco.
While driving at an increasingly fast pace, Ingco punched Adriatico at least three times. Ingco was with an unidentified male passenger who tried to pacify him.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) is considering revoking the driver’s license of Joseph Russel Ingco after the video clip was shown on national television.
Adriatico, on Friday, filed a complaint for serious physical injury, direct assault upon an agent of a person in authority, grave threats and robbery against Ingco before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office.
LTO spokesperson Jason Salvador pointed out that Ingco committed the alleged crimes while driving and this could be a basis of his license cancellation. LTO will summon Ingco to justify why he should be allowed to continue driving.
Let emphasize that not only did Ingco commit a “moving violation.”
He committed direct assault upon an agent of a person in authority while also endangering the lives of other people on the road.
It is unfortunate that MMDA traffic enforcers and traffic aides in the different Metro Manila localities have been stereotyped as generally corrupt and lazy, out to collect “tong.”
There are indeed a number of traffic enforcers who are engaged in meeting their superiors’ tong quota but I do believe that many others are honest and dedicated public servants.
MMDA chair Francis Tolentino attests that MMDA traffic constable Adriatico is one hell of a model public servant.
Unfortunately, after being dragged by an arrogant sports car aficionado, his search for justice may drag on, too.
Like last year’s case against Carabuena, this one against Ingco would likely also rot in court.
Like Carabuena, Ingco can afford to hire the lawyers who will make sure he does not rot in jail.
No, not even for the charges of serious physical injury and direct assault upon agent of a person in authority.
I doubt if Ingco would even lose his driver’s license altogether as he deserves.
But if one comes to think of it, the crime committed by Ingco, as well as Carabuena, should be considered an aggravated crime as it was inflicted on an agent of a person on authority, who was unarmed and was performing an essential service to the public.
I strongly recommend that some well-meaning members of the Legislature look into this issue and see these cases as an “aid in legislation.”
Reports reaching my office have it that there are a lot more of these cases, where MMDA and local traffic aides have been verbally and physically abused.
But, they were not caught on video and so they never made it on You Tube.
If we can come up with laws like “Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Law,” perhaps we can have something like “Anti-Bullying Against Traffic Officers Law” which would impose stiffer penalties on offenders.
No bail recommended!