Market racket name-drops Erap; probe on
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Wednesday ordered an investigation into reports that “unscrupulous” individuals were using his name to run a protection racket and collecting fees from vegetable dealers and vendors in the Divisoria market.
Estrada directed Senior Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, the deputy director for operations of the Manila Police District; and Che Borromeo, head of Task Force Manila which is in charge of the city’s cleanup drive, to look into the claims of some vendors that they were each shelling out P2,800 weekly to use a portion of Recto Avenue for unloading their produce.
Dennis Alcoreza, head of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau, said about 20 to 30 vegetable trucks from Baguio City, Benguet province and other vegetable-producing areas do this on the busy thoroughfare every night, disrupting traffic flow.
The dealers leave behind around 16 truckloads of trash daily, which the city government “spends so much time and effort collecting,” he noted.
According to Estrada, the dealers told him in a recent meeting that they were also being made to pay P300 as “intelligence fee” and P80 as “business permit fee” every day. No figures were given on how many dealers and vendors were being victimized.
The scam dates back to the 1980s, he added, “since the time of (former Mayors Lito) Atienza and (Alfredo) Lim.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.