MMDA mulls letting enforcers arrest traffic violators who attack them
Traffic enforcers of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority may soon arrest traffic violators who will dare to attack its personnel, an official said on Sunday.
In a radio interview, MMDA operations supervisor Bong Nebrija said the legal affairs services advised them to consider doing “citizen’s arrest,” or a warrantless arrest by a private person, if enforcers should be assaulted.
“We had a briefing with the legal team what we could do within our law so we can subdue violators that we do not need to get hurt,” he said. “Hindi na ito maganda.”
[This is getting bad.]
The Revised Penal Code lists the following as crimes against persons of authority and their agents:
- direct assault
- indirect assault
- resistance and disobedience
- disobedience to summons of Congress and constitutional commissions
Nebrija’s statements came after one MMDA enforcer was assaulted last week by a woman motorcycle rider flagged down twice for riding without a helmet in Quezon City.
A video that had gone viral, which was recorded through one of the enforcers’ body camera, shows helmetless woman and her male companion, who was driving. The woman reasoned she was using the helmet as a basket to hold the food they had just bought.
She also cursed at Nebrija and even resisted accepting the traffic violation ticket because one of the MMDA enforcers allegedly laughed at her mockingly.
“If there’s no available policemen [during the commission of a traffic violation], then maybe we can do the arrest ourselves,” Nebrija said.
According to criminal law, anyone can make citizens arrest only if the violator was caught in flagrante delicto – that is, in the actual commission of crime – or in a hot pursuit.
Nebrija admitted, however, that the arrest power could be abused by their men. He said they would study its “legal technicalities” and would invite resource persons to teach them.
“We need our men to be trained on this, especially on the proper way to arrest violators,” the MMDA official said. “We cannot just pounce on them and cuff their hands and told them you’re under arrest, right? We do not want to reach a point that when we made an arrest, the violator will sue us for physical injuries.” /atm
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