MANILA, Philippines—A human resource manager of the Philip Morris and his brother are in deep trouble after they were filmed in the act of berating and attacking an enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Tuesday afternoon.
The 27-second video of motorist Robert Blair Carabuena bullying traffic constable Saturnino Fabros, which was taken by a producer of TV5, had spread like wildfire in the Internet and drawn the attention of the MMDA officials and even the Malacañan Palace.
Fabros, a traffic enforcer of the MMDA for 27 years, executed his affidavit for the direct assault charges filed at the Quezon City prosecutor’s office against Carabuena and his brother Robert Benjamin.
Apart from slapping the motorist with a criminal complaint, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino had also asked the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel Carabuena’s driver’s license saying an “abusive and arrogant motorists like him… have no right to be in the road in the first place.”
“We cannot allow this aggression and shameless attack against our men who are only doing their job as best as they can, regardless of the risks they face in the streets every day,” Tolentino said.
The MMDA chief demanded Carabuena to issue a public apology because he said “the assault on Fabros is also an attack against the MMDA.”
Carabuena was caught on camera slapping Fabros over a traffic violation.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Carabuena was graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University and an HR executive of the tobacco giant Philip Morris.
In an interview with reporters, Fabros said he had tried to apprehend Carabuena after the latter who was driving a green Volvo car beat the stop signal at the corner of Capitol Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.
“Pinapahinto ko na nga siya, dumiretso pa rin siya (I asked him to stop but he still went on),” Fabros, the 47-year-old traffic enforcer, said.
He said he may have tapped Carabuena’s vehicle but he never hit it nor did he shout curses at the motorist.
“He was so angry. He grabbed my cap and hit me several times,” said Fabros who at one point began to sob.
Carabuena’s brother, who will be likewise charged, held his back while Carabuena did the hitting.
A father of four children, he said never in his 27 years of service was he humiliated like that.
He said since he was backed by the MMDA legal department, nothing can stop him from filing the criminal complaint.
Under the Revised Penal Code, direct assault is punishable by a prison term of six months to six years.
Tolentino said the criminal liability of Carabuena is aggravated by the fact — as shown in the video footage — that he hurt Fabros who should be considered a person in authority.
“As with all of our men who were attacked and intimidated by undisciplined motorists while performing their duties, we will see to it that justice is served to Mr. Fabros,” the MMDA chief said.
MMDA lawyer Victor Nunez said bullying and attack against traffic enforcers happen almost every month.
He said in separate incidents, two MMDA enforcers were intentionally hit by passenger buses while directing the traffic in their areas. In September last year, an MMDA enforcer was shot by a motorist whom he was trying to apprehend.
“The difference now is that we have a strong evidence against the motorist,” Nunez said showing a CD copy of the video.