Not usual glitch but a catfight stops MRT train
MANILA, Philippines–It’s not always the fault of the poorly maintained Metro Rail Transit (MRT) when its operation abruptly stops, after all. Sometimes, the passengers’ frayed nerves have something to do with it.
Around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, MRT 3 northbound passengers thought that another technical glitch stalled the operation (for about five to seven minutes) at the Cubao station in Quezon City.
But the passengers, including this writer, were mistaken.
It was a three-way brawl involving three women, including a 17-year-old, inside the train’s first car, that stopped the train on its tracks.
The first car is a special coach intended for women, senior citizens, children and persons with disabilities.
Hair grabbing, shouting
In the beginning, the three women “fought” a silent “war” for each other’s space on the usually jam-packed train, until it reached the Cubao station.
The train was on full stop, waiting for passengers to get off and to board, when the three started grabbing each other’s hair and shouting invectives—an ugly scene that became even uglier when other passengers joined the commotion by taunting the three.
Security guards rushed to the scene to pacify the three women. They stopped attacking each other but continued their shouting match.
Call center agent
The three were identified as 25-year-old call center agent Rose Benilyn Esguerra; 46-year-old housewife Jacklyn Besin; and 17-year-old Mystica. They were told by copassengers to get off the train and to continue their brawl outside.
Esguerra, who was fuming at Besin and the minor, immediately got off the train. She said she would file a complaint against the two who ganged up on her.
Besin and Mystica refused to get off the train when the guards tried to escort them out. They held their ground, saying “We’re fine, we won’t file a complaint.”
But Esguerra insisted that the two should be held for investigation since they started the fight.
Since Besin and the minor refused to get off the car, station officials decided to bring the three to the North Avenue station for questioning so as not to delay further the train’s operation.
“We were in the middle of the trip when we felt that she was intentionally pushing and elbowing us,” said Besin.
Besin was accusing the call center agent who started grabbing her by the hair, when the latter was about to get off the train.
Esguerra did not deny grabbing Besin’s hair, but added it was a knee-jerk reaction on her part.
“I did not start it. She (Besin) pulled my hair. So I also pulled her hair. Then this one joined the fray (referring to 17-year old Mystica),” Esguerra told the guards and this writer.
Mystica, for her part, said she joined Besin in attacking Esguerra because the latter hit her in the face. “She scratched my face. That’s why I fought back,” the minor said.
Besin and the minor are not related.
After almost an hour of arguing and explaining, the three decided to settle the case amicably.
Both Besin and the minor admitted to have started the fight, and apologized to Esguerra who decided not to pursue her complaint against the two.
The video of the brawl, taken by this writer, was the most-viewed video for the night. She also filed a story for Inquirer.net, which was also posted on social media.
The video and the report were enough to set netizens who follow the Inquirer ablaze with comments, unsolicited advice and, as expected, scathing words against the government’s neglect of the mass transport system.
“Haha… ito ang result sa kakulangan ng MRT [This is the result of a lack of trains on the MRT],” posted Riza Ann Mercado.
“Its understandable that you’ll get bumped and crushed in MRT or PNR (Philippine National Railways) due to its crowd but what’s irritating is when someone’s weight is on you coz she can’t hold on to the bar coz she’s PLAYING candy crush on her tablet!! Grrrr!!!” said netizen Kata Jose Cajoles.
Shawee Yap said the MRT experience should be taken with a grain of salt: “It’s common that you get bumped because the MRT is always full. The problem here is that commuters who stand near the door don’t give way to others who need to alight. Still, it’s not excusable to pull each other’s hair out. Shouting and cursing is more acceptable.”
“Contributing factor is the stress/harassing experience of riding the MRT. And THAT is the result of mismanagement,” said user Troy Barrios.
A netizen, who used the name ‘Somebody’s Tony,’ advised those who would find themselves in similar predicaments: “Try not to be hypersensitive in a crowded space like that. Kung bawal kang masagi (the article implies it wasn’t intentional), mag-taxi ka… [If you don’t want to be touched, take a taxi.] Brawling in public only embarrasses/degrades the participants in the end…”
Bunny Bunienik shared a story she experienced while taking the train home. “When I rode the train, there was this mother who plowed through the crowd in front of her. Instead of apologizing, she said, ‘Be patient because we’re Filipinos. We’re not disciplined.’ Many passengers cringed but nobody reacted.”–With a report from Ramon H. Royandoyan, Inquirer Social Media
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