The purge continues: Two more MMDA traffic enforcers sacked for extortion

Published May 16, 2021, 11:10 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Another duo of traffic enforcers-slash-extortionists from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has bitten the dust.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos. (Ali Vicoy / File photo / Manila Bulletin)

This, as MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos terminated from service of traffic enforcers Mark James Ayatin and Jayson Salibio, both job order personnel assigned at C5 Special Traffic Zone.

Reports said the two were caught on video last week in their attempt to extort money from motorist Christ Edward Lumagui. Lumagui asked for a ticket for his supposed traffic violation but was made to pay P300 in grease money instead.

“These two traffic enforcers are now terminated. The MMDA does not and will never condone any wrongdoing of our personnel,” Abalos said in a statement Sunday, May 16.

It was only last May 10 when the agency bared that it had dismissed traffic enforcers Edmon Belleca and Christian Malemit for extorting P1,000 in exchange for the non-apprehension of a motorist-couple along EDSA-A. Bonifacio. The incident was also recorded on video.

Reports said that Lumagui’s vehicle was flagged down by Ayatin and Salibio on May 7 along Levi Mariano Avenue corner C5 in Taguig City while it was about to make a U-turn.

The traffic enforcers said Lumagui committed a traffic violation. The latter pleaded for consideration but to no avail. So in the end, he asked the enforcers to issue him a ticket for his violation.

However, Salibio asked for his driver’s license and instructed him to make a U-turn so that they could talk on the other side of the road. At this point, Lumagui and his cousin decided to take a video.

Ayatin told him that he will not be able to continue driving since he is using an international driver’s license, but they offered to “help” him. MMDA investigators said this was a discreet way of telling Lumagui to just cough up grease money.

Lumagui reiterated that he would just rather get the ticket citation, but Ayatin insisted that they help him. After Salibio took the P300 from Lumagui, they let them go.

Based on the MMDA Legal Department’s investigation, the video clip clearly showed that the two enforcers displayed their intent to extort money, which is a violation of agency’s policies, rules, regulations, and existing laws.

“It was evident that the two respondents conspired and acted in concert to extort money from Lumagui, which they successfully did,” the MMDA said in a resolution.

It added that both Ayatin and Salibio “committed grave misconduct as public employees”.

“Considering that respondents TE Ill Ayatin and TE Ill Salibio ‘s employment status are mere Job Order employees which contract of service are not covered by Civil Service Law but by COA Rules under Section 2, Rule XI of the Omnibus Rules on Appointments and Other Personnel Actions, thus, they cannot be charged under the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases,” the resolution further said.

Belleca and Malemit were regular employees of the MMDA.