By Jel Santos
A probe is now underway after a member of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) clearing group was videoed mauling a still unidentified coconut vendor in Pasay City on Friday, an agency official said, Saturday.
(screen-grabbed from video shared by Mhean Capaypay on Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)
The Facebook post by user Mhean Capaycapay went viral and has now around 290,000 shares. The video she uploaded shows a vendor defying the MMDA group, which turned physical. Netizens were outraged as it was seen on the video that the vendor was punched.
Celine Pialago, MMDA spokesperson, said the 12 members of the clearing group were put on hold and are now being investigated by agency’s legal department.
She, meantime, pointed out that the vendor was aggressive and was cursing the team of MMDA.
The clearing team member seen on the video punching the vendor was identified as Leonard Mojica, an MMDA contractual worker for 12 years.
For his side, Mojica said he was just provoked because he was punched in the face by the defiant coconut vendor.
“Nandilim na lang po ang paningin ko. Sinuntok niya po kasi ako. Tanggap ko naman po kung paparusahan ako dahil sa nagawa ko,” he said.
Prior to what was caught in the video, the team members of Mojica said the vendor threw ice to one of them, hitting him on the neck.
Both members of the clearing team have undergone medical examinations to prove such claims.
Francis Martinez, head of the MMDA’s metro parkway clearing group, said they were just asking the vendor to leave the sidewalk on Evangelista St., so that commuters will not have a hard time passing the narrow pathway that he allegedly blocked.
The MMDA reiterated that they will not allow such actions of their men, assuring the public that the probe will be fair and square.