Traffic enforcer in viral ‘kotong’ video may face termination if found guilty

Traffic enforcer in viral ‘kotong’ video may face termination if found guilty
Screenshot from viral video

THE traffic enforcer from the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team) who was allegedly caught extorting money from a driver he had apprehended in Barangay Alang-Alang on Thursday, March 21, 2024, will face termination from service if proven guilty.

In a video that went viral on social media, the enforcer was caught on camera accepting something from a truck driver after issuing a citation ticket in a street within Barangay Alang-Alang in Mandaue City.

In an interview with the media right after the International Cat Show press conference at the Fairfield by Marriott Cebu on Friday, March 22, 2024, City Councilor Jimmy Lumapas, chairman of the committee on transportation, said the Mandaue City Government has launched an investigation on the incident.

In the Philippines, extortion is commonly known as "Kotong." It occurs when a law enforcement official or public official intimidates or unlawfully extracts money or property from a person who is facing apprehension or charges for violating, or suspected of violating any law. They do this by exercising their authority unduly in exchange for protection against possible arrest or filing of charges.

Lumapas clarified that although it was evident that the enforcer accepted something from the driver, it was unclear whether it was money or not. He stressed that a more thorough investigation was necessary to determine the truth.

Lumapas assured that he would inform Team to identify the enforcer in the video and request an explanation from him.

He said if the enforcer is found guilty, the City would immediately terminate him, as they do not tolerate such behavior.

"As chairman sa Committee on Transportation, unya ako gyung gipaningkamutan nga makadawat sila (enforcers) og dako nga sweldo, above minimum wage ang ilang gidawat. Unya despite sa atong gibuhat, naa lang gihapo'y corruption (...I was trying to get them to receive a large salary above minimum wage. Then despite what we did, there is still corruption)?” said Lumapas.

Lumapas admitted that there are instances when drivers plead with enforcers, particularly for minor violations, to be lenient and not impose penalties. He clarified that such requests are acceptable, as long as no money is involved.

According to Lumapas, this is the first extortion incident reported among Team enforcers in 2024.

It is not yet clear whether the driver who allegedly bribed the enforcer will face legal charges.

'Complimentary gift'

Hyll Retuya, assistant head of Team, announced that they have completed their investigation on the incident involving one of their enforcers, and have temporarily suspended him.

They will be forwarding the results of their investigation to their legal department for resolution, which may include termination of the enforcer if he is found guilty.

During their investigation, Retuya said the enforcer in question admitted to receiving something from the driver featured in the viral video, but denied that it was a bribe.

The enforcer claimed that it was a "complimentary gift" from the driver, but refused to disclose whether or not he had been given money, or how much he had been given.

Retuya mentioned that this is not the first time that they have had to deal with incidents of this nature. In 2023, they fired three other Team personnel for similar cases of extortion.

But this latest incident on Thursday is the first one that has gone viral.

Team enforcers are job order (JO) workers who are paid around P11,000 to P12,000 per month, and work in two shifts -- 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. for 30 days.

In January 2024, Lumapas passed an ordinance that increased the daily rate of Team enforcers from P420 to P435, which is slightly higher than the Visayas minimum wage of P405.

The ordinance also decreased their working days from 30 to 28 days.

Retuya said the Team has approximately 300 traffic enforcers.

Value integrity

Retuya advised the team enforcers to avoid getting tempted by bribery and to prioritize their integrity over corrupt practices.

As part of their intervention, he said they have been providing the team enforcers with educational campaigns and information on how to perform their duties effectively while following the proper rules and regulations.

Lumapas also encouraged motorists to refrain from resorting to bribery, as it could put the job of the enforcers in danger. (HIC)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.