The two Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers who allegedly extorted P1,000 from a motorist-couple have now been placed under preventive suspension for 90 days.
MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos handed down the order on Monday, April 26, even as the two Traffic Discipline Office (TDO) members are being investigated for extortion, grave misconduct, and other offenses punishable by dismissal from the service.
Abalos served the notice of charge to traffic enforcers Edmon Belleca and Christian Malemit, who are permanent employees of the agency.
“Upon learning of the incident, I immediately ordered our TDO and Legal Department to conduct a thorough investigation. I am very angry with what they did, they have besmirched the name of the agency. However, administrative procedures require that they be given due process,” he said.
A video of the incident the MMDA chief was referring to went viral on social media over the weekend. It occured on Friday, April 23 at around 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the vicinity of EDSA-A. Bonifacio split towards NLEX.
Uploader and complainant Miriel Custodio said Belleca and Malemit asked for P1,000 as bribe money in exchange for non-apprehension for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10913 or the Anti-Distracted Driving Act and Reckless Driving.
Abalos emphasized the agency does not and will never condone such misconduct. “We will not tolerate this wrongdoing among our ranks. I will not let anyone tarnish the image of the agency,” he stressed.
For his part, Teroy Taguinod, MMDA TDO head, expressed dismay over the enforcers’ behavior.
“I am disappointed [with] the alleged extortion committed by Belleca and Malemit. We frequently remind our enforcers to do the right thing as public servants and they should not engage in illegal activities,” Taguinod said.
Abalos urged motorists and the public to report any scrupulous activities among MMDA personnel for appropriate actions.