NO one could explain why the PNP Highway Patrol Group (HPG) was pulled out of traffic enforcement at EDSA three years ago. Its operatives were back since Monday this week and suddenly traffic congestion eased, especially at troubled junctions on the national highway.
The colorum buses which added to the already unwieldy volume disappeared one by one, which was met with bickering by several MMDA officials and enforcers. The HPG operatives were particularly alert against buses ignoring the yellow lane and frequently infringing on the others.
Many say the holstered guns of the HPG did the trick, especially against tough colorum drivers who simply ignore MMDA enforcers. Weapons should not replace the tenacity, zeal and dedication of many in the MMDA on EDSA and on the major streets of Metro Manila. Yet, strict traffic enforcement has been belied by persistent corruption and ineptness among enforcers and the unchecked unruly and abusive behavior of countless bus and jeepney drivers.
Genuine enforcement should, however, both project a stern, incorruptible and uncompromising image and work ethic which the HPG seemed to manifest. Really sad to say, the MMDA, citing perennially the lack of manpower, has only turned into a veritable token for traffic control and management.
Because they are able to draw forced compliance on chaotic EDSA, the HPG operatives should be given a more active role in traffic management and enforcement there, despite the veiled but strong resistance from the MMDA.
It was not just organization dynamics or turf control that sent MMDA officials and enforcers into a frenzy over the “success” of the HPG on EDSA but the corruption that has long attended traffic enforcement on EDSA and major thoroughfares that was never thoroughly addressed by Malacanang and Congress.
The suspended BuCor officials and personnel can just gloat over the suspension ordered by the Ombusman against them. The compelling evidence seems to indicate an open conspiracy with wealthy and politically-connected inmates which may be difficult to prove before the courts, especially if high-caliber lawyers are enlisted by the well-oiled criminal syndicates inside the prison walls. Human instinct tells these officials that they would be able to dodge the criminal charges, not unlike the police drug operatives involved in more than 15,000 EJKs, as well as the riding-in-tandem vigilantes who have murdered 12 mayors and 8 vice-mayors nationwide since July 2016.
The most notorious police operation by the PNP was the killing of then Ozamiz mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, his wife, brother, and 11 others. The presidential hand was obviously not detached from the fate of the senior officers who led the slaughter. Most were promoted and transferred to other provincial assignments.
Criminal impunity has since infected agencies of government bestowing on their officials and personnel a renewed boldness and earnestness in living off on the people’s money. Even the low-funded agencies or those with the leanest budget nurture corrupt leaders fond of travel junkets abroad and of lining their pockets with “commissions.” Certainly, the LGUs are not far behind with their top officials clouded with electoral fraud and political killings already cozying up to President Duterte and his close allies.
The President should realize by now that before the public, accountability for government corruption and liquidation of criminal suspects is not inseparable. And when it had been condoned by the leader of the land who enjoys very high satisfaction survey ratings, the rest of our countrymen would think of his achievement against the huge drug problem, even if downright unlawful and unwelcomed, as a shining example to follow.
Gun-for-fires are on a roll, and according to news interviews in Cebu, they make more money by extorting first from their would-be victims. All over the country, public and private prosecutors have become easy targets of hired killers and vigilantes, along with lawyers of high-profile criminal suspects and of detained NPA officers and cadres. The lowly and the mighty are no longer cowed by fear of the law and respect for order, which should otherwise be best exemplified by the President who is tragically not bound to leave a true legacy.