After a two-week investigation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has decided to sack the two traffic enforcers who went viral online for extorting P1,000 from a motorist-couple along EDSA last month.
It was only last April 26 when MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos first summoned Edmon Belleca and Christian Malemit to his office after they were caught on video asking for P1,000 in exchange for the non-apprehension of the couple for violation of Republic Act (RA) 10913, otherwise known as Anti-Distracted Driving Act and Reckless Driving.
“Natapos na po ang imbestigasyon ng MMDA sa kaso ng dalawang enforcers na ito. Dahil sa bigat ng mga ebidensya laban sa kanila, sila po ay napatunayang guilty kaya’t tanggal na po sila sa kanilang tungkulin at hindi na maaaring makapag-serbisyo pang muli (The MMDA has completed its investigation on these two enforcers. Based on the strong evidence against them, they have been proven guilty and will be dismissed from the service with no possibility of returning),” Abalos said in a statement Monday, May 10.
The duo was found guilty of grave misconduct, an offense that’s punishable by dismissal. Appropriate criminal charges will also be filed against the two traffic personnel.
“We have coordinated with the victim in preparation for the filing of court charges against Belleca and Malemit. We will make them accountable for their actions,” Abalos added.
The uploader of the damning video was Miriel Custodio, who stood as complainant in the probe. The MMDA provided her with legal assistance.
The extortion took place on April 23 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the vicinity of EDSA-A. Bonifacio split toward North Luzon Expressway (NLEX). That same weekend, Custodio’s video made rounds on social media.
Prior to the dismissal, Belleca and Malemit were put on preventive suspension as part of the administrative procedure.
The preventive suspension, which would have lasted up to 90 days, was meant to be a disciplinary measure while their case was being heard and investigated by the agency’s legal department. But the process didn’t take that long.
Abalos warned all MMDA employees not to engage in any illegal activity, saying the agency is serious in its drive against corruption.
“May this serve as a stern warning to all our personnel who are involved in corrupt activities. We shall not hesitate to fire them and file charges against them,” he said.