Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso on Friday explained that the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau did not extort money or engage in “kotong” when its members flagged down the driver involved in the viral “magic stoplight” video.
The city chief in his “Capital Report” streamed live on his Facebook page on July 3 said that the driver was only reprimanded, not extorted nor given a violation ticket.
Last week, a video went viral where a driver was flagged down by MTPB after it continued to move forward when the stoplight suddenly turned green to orange.
The stoplight was determined to be located at the intersection of the Abad Santos Avenue and Antipolo Street in Manila.
It was supposed to give motorists 12 seconds to move forward but it abruptly moved to the orange light even before the end of the countdown.
The stoplight has since been dubbed by the local online community as a “magic stoplight” due to the sudden change of signal without proper timing.
Moreno said that the driver was only apprehended by MTPB since the vehicle was already nearing the designated pedestrian lane, yet failed to slow down.
He emphasized that this was due to the faulty stoplight that is under the jurisdiction of the Metro Manila Development Authority.
“Kaya pala sila andito sa gitna dahil ilang araw ng sira ‘yong stoplight na nireport naman na sa tamang ahensya ng gobyerno,” Moreno said, referring to his MTPB enforcers.
“Kaya sila pumapagitna, talagang nang-ha-harang sila, kasi baka nga naman magpanghabol (motorists and pedestrians). ‘Yun ang sinasabi ng kabilang side, itong mga MTPB,” he added.
MTPB last week explained in a Facebook post that a tricycle and a bicycle rider was about to cross the pedestrian crossing in the video.
“Makikita din po natin sa video na my tatawid na tricycle at naka bisikleta. Kaya sila po ay hinarang at ganoon na lamang din po ang pag papahinto ng ating mga enforcers para maka iwas sa aksidente,” the agency said.
It also noted that the video uploader failed to record the whole incident to give the public a full view of the situation.
“Hindi sila hinuli, hindi sila tiniketan, hindi sila kinotongan,” Moreno said in his report.
He further explained why the driver was flagged down by MTPB.
“Bakit siya inawat? Pagpalagay natin na walang mali ang stoplight, nag-dilaw na eh, ta’s nung nag-dilaw, andiyan na siya sa pedestrian, kaya inawat. ‘Pag malapit ka na sa pedestrian, dapat hinto ka na,” Moreno added.
He promised his constituents that he would immediately sack any erring MTPB enforcers if they are found to be guilty of extortion or the practice of “kotong,” adding that an investigation is ongoing.
“Basta ang importante, walang nangyaring kotong. May nangyaring pagsasaway, at higit sa lahat, may kapalpakan ang gobyerno, dapat ‘yon, immediately inaayos ang stoplight,” he said, referring to MMDA.
MTPB in its previous Facebook post said that it has already informed the traffic authority about the faulty stoplight.