MMDA men in ‘paihi’ fuel theft; boss pissed
Three employees of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) were arrested early Tuesday in Mandaluyong City for allegedly selling diesel fuel pilfered from an MMDA vehicle.
The theft is called “paihi,” a Filipino term literally referring to the act of urinating but has come to mean siphoning fuel from a tank or depot in crime parlance.
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino immediately fired Roderick Gutang, driver of a mechanical sweeper truck; John Tuplano, 28; and Luis Bitangcor, 33, who had been reporting to the MMDA’s Parkway and Clearing Operations office for the last four years.
“We are not tolerating these offenses. One strike is enough,” Tolentino told reporters after ordering the termination of the workers’ contracts.
Narciso del Rosario, a member of Mandaluyong’s antivice unit that carried out the arrests, said a tricycle driver alerted his group to the suspects’ operations.
They were allegedly selling diesel in six-liter bottles at P180 each at a jeepney terminal at the corner of Reliance and Sheridan streets in Barangay Buayang Bato.
Arriving at the area around 1:30 a.m., Del Rosario said, he saw Bitangcor and Tuplano offering five bottles filled with fuel to jeepney drivers plying the Edsa-Binangonan, Rizal, route. Bitangcor was even in an MMDA uniform, he recalled.
Bitangcor and Tuplano later admitted getting the diesel from the mechanical sweeper, which was then parked and manned by Gutang a few meters from the terminal, Del Rosario said.
The MMDA was set to charge the three men with qualified theft. According to Del Rosario, Bitangcor and Gutang were already caught engaging in paihi in December last year but charges were not filed against them “in the spirit of Christmas.” With a report from Niña P. Calleja
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