MMDA chief stands by his mauled man
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino stood by his man, Jorbe Adriatico, a day after the Maserati-driving businessman accused of mauling the traffic constable went on national television to defend himself and insist that he was the aggrieved party in their road encounter on Thursday.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Tolentino challenged Joseph Russel Ingco to undergo a lie detector test, saying that unlike Adriatico’s statements which were “spontaneous” and issued immediately after the mauling incident, Ingco’s claims came much later after the Quezon Avenue incident and were apparently rehearsed.
“[Ingco] was gone for more than a day and he has the resources to rehearse and contact the people he needed to talk to, apart from his lawyer. That’s why it took him long to surface; he prepared what he was going to say,” Tolentino said, referring to the businessman’s media interviews Friday night.
Tolentino said he wouldn’t buy Ingco’s claims that he was the one who got hurt by Adriatico, since it was the MMDA aide who suffered a broken nose.
He also vouched for Adriatico’s credibility, saying he had maintained a clean record since he started working in the MMDA six years ago and was even cited by the police for helping arrest street criminals. “I think he’s telling the truth. He’s a credible guy and we stand by him.”
“In the case of Mr. Ingco, with all due respect, he admitted that he punched [Adriatico]… so that’s already an admission,” the official said.
Ingco told evening newscasts on Friday that he felt forced to explain his side of the incident out of safety fears.
The 39-year-old businessman was caught on video holding Adriatico by his shirt and dragging him along the road out of the window of his blue Maserati Ghibli on the morning of Nov. 13.
The video, shot by a fellow traffic officer, went viral, drawing the ire of the country’s vocal Facebook and Twitter mobs, and prompting Tolentino to put up a P100,000 reward for information on the businessman’s whereabouts.
Social media users vilified Ingco, calling him a “road bully,” “liar” and “mauler.” “This shows that social media can be a tool for justice,” Tolentino told Agence France-Press on Saturday.
“I am afraid for my safety. I am willing to face the consequences,” Ingco told GMA Network, stuttering at some points during the interview.
Ingco admitted punching the traffic aide, but said it was only to loosen the officer’s grip on his shirt collar. He claimed the aide punched him too, though he had no visible bruises on his face.
Adriatico was set to undergo surgery on Saturday to repair his broken nose.
“I still couldn’t sleep. The incident keeps playing in my head,” Adriatico, with a bandaged nose, told ABS-CBN of his Thursday morning run-in with Ingco.
Police filed an assault complaint against Ingco in the Quezon City prosecutor’s office, which will decide if he is to stand trial. No arrest warrant has been issued.
Tolentino said the video of the incident “affirms the truthfulness” of the traffic aide’s statement, and that he would help Adriatico pursue charges against Ingco and oppose possible attempts at a settlement. “Let’s move towards justice.”
Luxury sports cars such as Maseratis are rare sights in Manila, where narrow, ill-maintained roads breed monstrous gridlock that sometimes spark incidents of road rage. With a report from AFP, Kristine Felisse Mangunay
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