Sweeping out crime and grime in the city marked the first day in office of new Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Monday.
The 76-year-old former President and now top executive of the country’s capital, together with Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, picked up brooms and water hoses in a symbolic drive to get rid of not only garbage but also criminals and corruption in the city.
“Kaya sisimulan natin ngayon ang pagbitbit ng walis bilang simbolo ng ating malasakit para linisin ang siyudad (We will start off by carrying brooms as a symbol of our concern to clean the city),” Estrada said in his inaugural speech on Sunday.
Almost simultaneously, a protest was held by some 50 members of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan slamming Estrada for “blaming poor Manileños as the cause of traffic and floods.” The protesters were quickly dispersed.
Estrada and Moreno then went around Rizal Avenue, Recto, Morayta and Mendiola to talk to vendors and lead the cleaning of sidewalks with water hoses and brooms.
Some 200 staff members of the Department of Public Services (DPS) joined the cleanup drive, DPS head Armando Andres said.
No to ‘eyesores’
Plaza Miranda police community precinct Chief Insp. Joselito Von Possel said the police have orders to clear the “eyesores,” telling vendors to pack up and confiscating untended chairs and tables on the sidewalks.
After Monday’s flag ceremony, three people linked to robbery cases were presented to Estrada.
The suspects were identified as PO1 Reggie Dominguez, 33, who was reported to have been absent without official leave since May 13 from the District Headquarters Support Unit; his cousin Bam-Bam Valbuena, a casual employee of the labor department; and Alfredo Aruta, a tricycle driver.
Dominguez and Valbuena were arrested at around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday at the corner of M.H. del Pilar and San Andres streets, Malate, for violating the helmet law, driving without a license and illegal possession of firearms.
According to Ermita Police Station commander Supt. Orlando Mirando Jr., Dominguez was involved in a robbery with homicide case on Jan. 15 along Pedro Gil corner Singalong Street in Paco.
Aruta, on the other hand, a Commando Gang member, has been linked to robbery and shooting incidents near the Manila Police District Station 7 area, according to Jose Abad Santos Station commander Supt. Roderick Mariano.
Aruta was arrested for shooting Oliver Francisco at 10:30 p.m. on June 24.