TWO traffic enforcers were arrested for allegedly beating up and stabbing a man while two others were fired by the mayor for allegedly towing vehicles without the owners’ knowledge.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña told a press conference yesterday that he fired James Vanguardia and Roland Debalucos since they acted as if they were agents of one of the towing companies providing service to the City.

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In the first incident, Michael Garces, 33, and Infante Ybañez, 32, were arrested Thursday night after they were accused of beating up and stabbing a man they had drinks with.

Hermogenes Canuday Sarvida, 25, suffered bruises and a stab wound in the left side of his body after he was allegedly attacked by the two City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) enforcers past 9 p.m.

Sarvida told police that he, Garces and Ybañez shared some drinks along P. Burgos St., Barangay San Roque when they began arguing over previous grudges.

In the heat of the argument, he said Garces punched him, causing him to fall to the ground. At this, Ybañez then allegedly pulled out a bladed instrument and stabbed him.

As he bled, the two fled.

Sarvida’s mother Lyda Canuday-Regis took him to the Cebu City Medical Center where he had to undergo surgery.

The two surrendered to Insp. Pedy Noval of the Waterfront Police Station.

They were brought to the CCMC where Sarvida identified them.

Investigators of the Crime Against Persons Unit of the Cebu City Police Office prepared to file a frustrated murder case against the two men.

Sarvida remains confined at the hospital.

Meanwhile, Osmeña said he received reports and complaints about what the two other enforcers separately did.

“They made it appear they were employees of the towing company. I decided to make it (dismissal of the two employees) public to send a message to those who may have a similar idea,” the mayor said.

Pressed for the identities of those who told him, he said they were friends who interceded for somebody else’s vehicles.

“I don’t know who the real owners were…. But it doesn’t matter.

You’re the mayor, you are a friend of everybody,” Osmeña said.

“You just can’t have traffic enforcers acting like agents of the towing company,” he said.

Under the current setup, each of the tow trucks has a traffic enforcer aboard, along with the towing company employees.

The enforcers are the ones who issue the citation tickets while the towing personnel are the ones who haul away the vehicles.

Motorists have complained against the manner the City’s illegal parking ordinance has been enforced by the towing companies.

In August last year, Tinago Barangay Councilor Joel Garganera and nine others filed a civil case against Osmeña and other officials over City Hall’s towing operations for violating the Procurement Reform Act or Republic Act 9184 by contracting the services of the towing companies without public bidding.

Garganera, a member of the opposition, said the mayor “is already biased towards the towing company.”

Last May 6, he also sent a letter-complaint to the Commission on Audit and on June 2, he complained to the Bureau of Internal Revenue about the matter.

Among the reports about the towing companies was the mauling of a motorist by towing personnel last May 15, and Garganera tangling with a One Stop towing team, which accused him of “stealing” the memory card of a digital camera, prior to that.

Garganera said the allegation was false and was made only after he confronted the towing team for immediately hauling away a vehicle without looking for the owner through a public address system.

This procedure is required in the rules and regulations crafted for the enforcement of City Ordinance 2054.

Another One Stop towing team also figured in a confrontation with a policeman, who was accused of firing his gun after complaining about the manner in which his vehicle

was towed.