By Aaron Recuenco
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde urged on Thursday his men assigned to do traffic works not to be intimidated by motorists driving cars with number 8 protocol plate.
Albayalde said any motorist who would commit infraction of the law must be accosted since it is what law enforcement, to which the cops have vowed to uphold.
“There is nothing wrong in flagging down these vehicles for as long as our personnel would do it in a proper way. While the Land Transportation Office (LTO) allows its use, there are restrictions,” said Albayalde.
The official was reacting to the incident in Pampanga wherein a motorist driving a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) was captured in a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) beating up a fellow motorist.
Such road rage incident went viral since the SUV has a number 8 protocol plate, designated only for members of the House of Representatives.
During the follow-up operation, it turned out that the motorist is neither a congressman nor a relative of any member of Congress. The suspect, a member of a local band, allegedly identified himself as a son of a congressman.
Albayalde said accosting abusive motorists using protocol plate should be apprehended since it is also a way of finding out if the protocol plate is genuine or not.
“There are fake because it can be copied, there are indeed fake number 8 plates,” said Albayalde.
In a related development, police’s Highway Patrol Group Director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo said he had already ordered a crackdown on all number 8 plates.
“I already ordered a massive crackdown on number 8 plates and even commemorative plates,” said Fajardo.
Fajardo said the reason why he ordered a massive crackdown is that it was House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself who had ordered the recall of the old protocol plate for congressmen.
A number of cases in the past were reported regarding the alleged abuses of motorists driving vehicles with the protocol plate for congressmen.
Some traffic policemen are afraid of accosting such motorists despite traffic violations for fear of retaliatory acts such administrative cases and threats of being reassigned.