Edsa team-up sours: MMDA man vs HPG duo
From road partners to foes?
Highway Patrol Group (HPG) director Chief Supt. Arnold Gunnacao announced on Thursday that he was recalling two of his men from traffic duty on Edsa after a traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) accused them of mauling him over a motorist’s confiscated driver’s license.
In a press release earlier in the day, the MMDA said that traffic auxiliary Leon Trinidad had complained that two HPG men beat him up around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after he failed to give them the driver’s license of Mark Nicolas who was earlier cited for a traffic violation.
Trinidad and the two HPG personnel—later identified by Gunnacao as Senior Insp. Joel Maranion and SPO2 Norman Interino—were assigned to direct traffic near the intersection of Quezon Avenue and Edsa in Quezon City.
In his sworn statement to the MMDA Traffic Discipline Office, Trinidad said that the two HPG men approached him to ask him about Nicolas’ license.
“They were [insisting] that the license was with me and they were very angry and even threatened me,” Trinidad added.
According to him, Interino hit him in the chest with a helmet while Maranion “joined the fray by kicking [my] legs and hitting [me] with a handheld radio while Nicolas watched the commotion.”
He claimed that Maranion confiscated his ID and those of two other MMDA personnel assigned in the area before leaving in a huff.
Emerson Carlos, MMDA assistant general manager for operations, said the incident was referred to the agency’s legal department “for appropriate action against the abusive PNP-HPG personnel.”
“We will not let this thing happen to our people who are merely doing their jobs,” Carlos added.
It was not clear in Trinidad’s statement, however, why the HPG men wanted to take back Nicolas’ license. The Inquirer tried to reach the MMDA for clarification but calls to the office went unanswered.
Meanwhile, Gunnacao said that Maranion and Interino had admitted that a confrontation did break out although the charge of mauling was “an exaggeration.”
“No one mauled anyone. Interino said he only shoved a helmet at Trinidad’s chest,” he added.
According to Gunnacao, the confrontation occurred because both his men felt insulted after Trinidad let off the hook three drivers apprehended earlier by the HPG.
The HPG chief explained that Maranion was in charge of apprehending erring motorists whose licenses were later turned over to a traffic auxiliary, in this case Trinidad.
Trinidad, on the other hand, was to give these licenses to the assigned MMDA traffic constable who would issue the drivers citation tickets.
“The HPG apprehended the motorists, only to find out that the licenses had been released by the MMDA to the [erring] drivers so no tickets were issued,” Gunnacao said over the phone.
According to him, Maranion and Interino felt “insulted,” especially since he [Gunnacao] had ordered his men to strictly issue tickets to erring drivers.
“They did not want to be accused of extorting [money] from motorists,” he said.–With Julie M. Aurelio
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