About 30 “drag racers” ganged up on a traffic enforcer who tried to break up their dangerous, often alcohol-fueled sport in Pasay City on the wee hours of Saturday, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
The incident prompted MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino to warn of a tougher crackdown and revive an earlier, controversial proposal to arm the agency’s traffic aides.
Tolentino yesterday said one of his men, Raul Reoteres, suffered head wounds and bruises after taking a beating from the racers and their peers, whom the official described to be young males apparently belonging to “rich families.”
The mauling took place at around 2 a.m. on Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard, a known favorite of drag racers since it usually has little or zero vehicular traffic in the early morning hours. The MMDA imposes a 60-kph limit on the highway.
“Initial investigation showed that the racers who mauled our enforcer were from rich families. They were mad that they were being asked to stop the race,” Tolentino told the Inquirer yesterday.
“It so happened that this was a large group, about 30 of them, who eventually mauled the enforcer. Apparently drunk, they immediately fled after the incident but we have witnesses who saw what happened and can identify those involved,” he added.
“We will return there in full force [today] and in the coming weeks. So if they decide to return there, too, they better be prepared,” he said. “We will never stop until we have fully eradicated drag racing on Macapagal.”
Other MMDA enforcers patrolling the area rushed Reoteres to San Juan de Dios Hospital. He was discharged late yesterday.
The MMDA said it would review footage from security cameras along the highway to determine the plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the race which Reoteres tried to stop.
“We want at least our traffic officials to carry guns. In the meantime, we will strengthen our patrols by requiring our
enforcers to make their rounds in tandems,” Tolentino said.
The MMDA chair said he will also ask the Pasay City government to ban the sale of alcoholic drinks at the gasoline stations along the highway.
“We were told that, before the races, the drivers and other participants usually have a drink first at the gasoline stations,” he said.
Tolentino also said his agency had also received word that the races also attract some wealthy businessmen who go the area to place bets.