HPG nabs Tolentino’s 2 MMDA escorts for using sticker with PNP insignia

HPG nabs Tolentino's 2 MMDA escorts over illegal use of police badge

FILE PHOTO: Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Director Col. Neil Francia says its operatives arrested two MMDA personnel in Parañaque City on Wednesday, May 29, 2024, for their unauthorized use of the police badge. Photo from the Official Facebook page of the HPG Headquarters

MANILA, Philippines — The Highway Patrol Group (HPG) arrested two Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel in Parañaque City for “publicly and improperly using the insignia ‘POLICE’ and ‘Master Rider’s Badge’.”

Highway Patrol Group (HPG) Director Col. Neil Francia said the two escorts were assigned to the MMDA’s traffic aide unit and allowed to provide security to Senator Francis Tolentino.

The HPG official said the two MMDA staff were caught illegally using the insignia of the Philippine National Police and Master Rider’s Badge as printed on stickers attached to their motorcycles’ windscreen and saddle box.

Francia identified the two as Teofilo Labsan Padilla, 64, and Jonathan Alames Pacle, 42.

READ: HPG chief says another cop, soldier caught moonlighting as escorts

“In-escortan nila sabi nila ‘yung former MMDA chairman, si Sen. Francis Tolentino. Authorized naman, nagbibigay kami ng mga security sa senators – hindi lang sa LGU (local government unit), chief executive – kasi meron din silang sakop. Authorized naman siya (Tolentino) kaya ang hinarang namin ‘yung talagang motor (two MMDA personnel),” he explained.

(They said they escorted the former MMDA chairman, Sen. Tolentino. It is authorized, we provide security to senators not only to LGU (local government unit), chief executive because they also have jurisdiction. He (Tolentino) is authorized, so we blocked the actual motorcycles of the two MMDA personnel.)

“Nagbukas si Senator Tolentino at nagtanong if pwede na umalis. Sabi ko, ‘Yes, Sir’, kasi motor lang ang problem namin dahil sa police markings. Hinayaan namin umalis dahil authorized naman sila mag-police escorts,” Francia told reporters in an interview Thursday.

(Senator Tolentino opened the window and asked if they could already leave. I said. “Yes, Sir,” because our problem is only with the motorcycle because of the police markings.  yes since only the motorcycle riders committed a violation because of the police markings. We let them go because they are authorized to escort an official.)

READ: Tolentino: We have no control over stickers escorts put on vehicles

Based on the HPG’s report, the MMDA escorts were flagged down along J.W. Diokno Avenue corner Aseana Avenue on Wednesday, May 29, after operatives noticed they were using sirens, which violates Presidential Decree 96 and Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 2014-01 (motorcycle vehicle operating with unauthorized accessories, and devices such as blinkers and siren).

Operatives then asked the two MMDA personnel regarding police markings on their motorcycles, but Padilla and Pacle “refused to divulge any information.”

Francia said the arrested MMDA escorts are currently placed under the custody of the Regional Highway Patrol Unit- National Capital Region Investigation Branch for violating Article 177, Usurpation of Authority, and Article 179, illegal use of uniform or insignia of the Revised Penal Code.

He also said that Padilla and Pacle will be brought before the city prosecutor’s office for inquest proceedings while the motorcycles are temporarily impounded at the HPG field unit for further investigation and validation.