The Double Standard of Traffic Rules in Manila: Defensor- Santiago Vs. Llamas

 

‎”Kaya ang gulo gulo ng lipunan natin eh. Maski sino na lang gago pwede kumuha ng exemptions basta may kilala ka sa PNP. Anong klase yan?” (Defensor, 2011)

When in Manila, you’ve probably already heard of the Presidential adviser for political affairs, Ronald Llamas, being in hot water after “the involvement of two of his staff members in a vehicular accident wherein the police also discovered a high-powered firearm inside Llamas’ SUV.” According to reports, Llamas purchased the firearm (an AK-47) as a means of protection as he feared for his safety and that of his family’s after receiving several death threats. Click here for the full story. 

 

However, even after the dismissal of the aides involved in the vehicular accident, people are still dissatisfied and are in fact clamoring for Llamas’ resignation, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in particular. After learning that Llamas purchased the AK-47 and several other fire arms in response to the death threats he has received due to his position in the government, Sen. Defensor- Santiago retorts, “He is a presidential adviser for political affairs. So what? Eh takot pala sya sa pulitika, eh di mag resign siya!” Also, with regards to the police letting Llamas get away with the incident, she says, ‎”Kaya ang gulo gulo ng lipunan natin eh. Maski sino na lang gago pwede kumuha ng exemptions basta may kilala ka sa PNP. Anong klase yan?” 

 

Upon reading the latter statement, I couldn’t help but reflect a bit and was like, “Oh snap! The woman is right!”. Allow me to explain myself… Upon winning the elections, Pres. Noynoy Aquino has tried to make it a point to show that govt. officials on the road are not to be treated any different from the likes of us common folk. Thus, the first thing he did? Abolish the use of the “wang- wang” or sirens. The thing is, although we don’t hear the annoying wailing of sirens or are no longer blinded by bright flashing lights, we still get bullied on the roads of Manila by huge black cars with dark tinted windows who are followed by their hoard of body guards in a separate car. Vehicles with red plates still continue to cut people off, straddle the lane lines, beat red lights and etc. Yet, when the police try to pull them over, all the driver has to do is roll down the passenger window, and the police lets them go. I’ve seen this happen several times and quite frankly, I’m sick of it. 

 

Personally, one of the reasons I have little to no respect for the MMDA or any kind of traffic enforcement is because I’ve been pulled over several times for the dumbest reasons, mostly as a result of selective apprehension. On the other hand, I see red plate vehicles blatantly disobey traffic rules and are let go after the passenger rolls down his window. Oh! Let’s not forget the hoard of body guards whose behavior on the road is comparable to that of cavemen, uncivilized and despicable. Body guards cut off people whether or not the latter have space to change lanes, and when you can’t move your car fast enough, the body guards chase you down and start harassing you. In fact, I’ve seen body guards chase down a taxi cab and throw water bottles and etc onto the windshield… DEAR BODY GUARDS, WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? NO CONSIDERATION WHATSOEVER FOR THE INNOCENT PASSENGERS IN THE TAXI’S BACKSEAT. THAT AND WHAT IF THE TAXI WERE TO SWERVE  ONTO ANOTHER LANE AND TO HIT OTHER INNOCENT DRIVERS? 

 

Oh, and going back to the whole Llamas and his firearm halabaloo, there have also been several incidents wherein after getting into a little quabble on the road, certain people of position feel the necessity to prove their being “high and mighty” by threatening the driver who “offended” them with a gun pointed to their face. Just recently, a friend of mine filed a police report against an officer who chased him down, started shouting and kicking my friend’s car and pointed his gun at him as well. Why’d the cop go nuts? Oh, because my friend wasn’t driving fast enough.. WHAT THE HECK?! 

 

Dear Government Officials and Public Servants, you are in positions of power so that you can make a difference in our society, for the better, mind you. Not for the worst. Being an official is a privilege, not a right. People vote for you because they sincerely believe that you can help move this country forward. If anything, we are more powerful than you, because without us, you wouldn’t be in the position you’re in now. Do not abuse your authority. Driving a vehicle with a red plate does not equate to the right to violate traffic rules and to get away with it. In fact, being an official does not equate to you being able to violate the law and to get away with it, PERIOD.

 

You should be the ones obeying traffic rules and what-not for the simple reason that being in a position of power,  your actions influence the rest of society. Why implement laws if not to follow them? The reason why people have little to no respect for government officials and any other person in authority for that matter is because more often than not, such people prove to be hypocritical. I understand that it takes two to tango and that as citizens we are not exempt from faults, but like the saying goes, “monkey see, monkey do.” So, if you want society to change for the better, be the change and lead by example, not by words. This goes out to all us common folk too. 

 

The Double Standard of Traffic Rules in Manila

 

 






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