Motorbike-riding Cainta mayor admonished for helmet law breach
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) admonished on Tuesday Cainta, Rizal Mayor Johnielle Keith Nieto for not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle on his way to a church wedding.
Jonathan Malaya, DILG Spokesperson and Undersecretary for Plans, Public Affairs and Communications, said that a government post does not grant anyone special status.
He said that being a public official does not exempt anyone from the coverage of the law.
“While Mayor Nieto has already publicly apologized for his act and accepted his shortcomings, the Department underscores the need for elected local officials to lead by example at all times,” he said in a statement.
“How can we expect ordinary citizens to follow the law if they see their local officials flaunting or defying it and when called out, defend their right not to follow on the ground that he has signed a waiver?” he added.
Malaya was referring to the earlier defense of Nieto that he had signed a waiver prior to riding a motorcycle, which he said would absolve anyone from liability from any injury he would sustain for not wearing a helmet.
The DILG official said that mayors should be the first to follow the law and that “resorting to legal technicalities will not change the facts.”
Road safety advocate James Deakin had earlier called out the mayor for violating Republic Act 10054, which mandates all motorcycle riders to wear standard protective helmets.
Malaya commended Deakin for this move.
Nieto later apologized in a Facebook post. /gsg
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