Incidents that put No. ‘8’ car plates in bad light
The recent controversy involving license plate number ‘8’ was not the first.
The license plate used by members of the House of Representatives has gained notoriety in recent years because it was being used to break the law by some unscrupulous persons.
In September 2011, one congressman used his 8 license plate to skip security inspection before entering a parking lot.
The congressman alighted from his Porsche 911 Carrera and reportedly berated the security guard who asked him if he knew what the “8” plate meant.
A witness said the lawmaker proceeded to punch the security guard, hitting him twice on the temple. The guard was also disarmed by the congressman’s security escorts who were following behind in a red Toyota Innova.
In September 2015, Actor Oyo Sotto called out a “rude” driver of a silver Mercedes-Benz sedan with the license plate “8.”
He aired his anger in a post on his social media accounts.
Sotto said he and his children were crossing the street in front of Acacia Hotel in Alabang, Muntinlupa City when the driver of the car allegedly did not allow them to pass.
“You are one rude Representative/Congressman!! We were crossing the street with my children in front of Acacia Hotel and you didn’t want to let us pass! Parang inip na inip ka, gusto mo pa akong banggain (You seem impatient, you even want to hit me) just because [I] stopped and was waiting for my children to cross),” Sotto wrote in his post.
“That’s why most of the people do not respect or obey the law it’s because of people like you, who is not being a good leader! Bastos ka talaga (You are really rude),” he added.
In August 2016, the National Bureau of Investigation found four vehicles — all with the license plate “8” — in a sex den raid.
This after the NBI arrested five persons allegedly involved in a prostitution ring that operated from a condominium in Pasay City.
The vehicles were allegedly owned by sex den operators who were not present during the raid.
A driver of a Toyota FJ Cruiser bearing an old “8” plate was under fire after he got involved in a road-rage incident along MacArthur Highway in Angeles City, Pampanga just recently.
The man was caught by a security camera punching a nurse. He was arrested and charged for inflicting serious physical injury and violating the traffic code.
Following the incident, many have questioned the issuance of the special protocol license plates, saying it is subject to abuse.
In August 2016, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez launched a crackdown on the abuse of special protocol license plates after some vehicles with “8” plates were seen parked outside sleazy places.
Just recently, one lawmaker asked former members of the House of Representatives from the 16th Congress to return their special license plates in light of the road-rage incident in Pampanga.
“We would like to reiterate the memorandum issued by the Secretary-General for all members of the House regarding the recall of protocol plate number 8,” Majority Floor Leader Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said.
“We have received reports that certain vehicles with protocol plate number 8 have been spotted in indecent places or figured in crime-related activities. In view of this development, the honorable Speaker has given instructions for the immediate recall of all protocol plates issued during the 16th Congress and earlier,” he added.
Executive Order No. 400, signed in 2005 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, authorized only two plates to select officials, except for the President (license plate No. 1), Vice President (license plate No. 1), Senate President (license plate No. 3), Speaker (license plate No. 4) and Chief Justice (license plate No. 5).
Senators (license plate No. 1) and representatives would be entitled to not more than four plates.
Other officials given protocol plates are Cabinet secretaries (license plate No. 6), associate justices (license plate No. 9), presiding justices (license plate No. 10), Commission on Elections chair (license plate No. 11), Cabinet undersecretaries (license plate No. 12), solicitor general (license plate No. 13), Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff and Philippine National Police chief (license plate No. 14), and regional trial court judges (license plate No. 16). /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.