By Jel Santos
Police arrested two enforcers of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for allegedly extorting money from three motorcycle drivers delivering food in Makati City on Friday night (April 17).
Makati Police Investigation Unit chief Maj. Gideon Ines Jr. identified the suspects as Darwin Reyes, 47, and Elmer Balunsat, 38. They are both job order enforcers of the MMDA.
For no apparent reason, the two enforcers flagged down three motorcycle drivers, who were on their way to deliver food, as they passed along EDSA Ayala Southbound in Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati around 7 p.m.
Ines said Reyes and Balunsat asked Francis Vicente, 26; Nino Paulo Aguda, 30; and another driver to give them P500 each to let them pass.
“One of them paid P500, the two other drivers only gave P200 and P100. The third driver opted to no longer file charges against the enforcers, because he saw it a hassle that will only consume his time. He said that he will rather spend the time working for his family,” the chief investigator said.
When the motorcycle drivers saw nearby policemen, they reported what the MMDA enforcers did to them.
Makati policemen then apprehended the suspects along the road they were manning.
“We have been receiving so many reports about the extortion activities there. This time, we have people who are willing to file charges against them,” Ines said.
Policemen seized the money allegedly taken by the enforcers from the motorcycle drivers.
Reyes and Balunsat are currently held at the Makati Police Headquarters’ detention cell.
Ines advised the public to report such opportunistic enforcers to the police immediately, adding that the police will arrest them right away.
“We are facing a crisis, a pandemic, we should help each other and not take advantage of one another,” he said.
MMDA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago said MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim fired the two traffic enforcers after learning about the incident,
“Both of them were terminated by Chairman Lim. This is in accordance with the procedures and rules our agency,” she said.
Pialago said MMDA will never tolerate such acts that will taint the image of the agency.