It was 9:30am of Black Saturday, April 15, when the driver of the bus going out of South of Manila I’m riding on was stopped for “illegally” unloading passengers on non-designated areas in downtown Makati City.
When approached by a traffic enforcer, this driver who pretends clueless asked:” Ano po violation ko sir?( What was my violation Sir?). He added saying as: Ay nandiyan naman pala si taba eh (I see, he was there), referring to the traffic enforcer’s companion sitting that time at the post.
Although reluctant, this driver gave in his driver’s license to the enforcer who then pretend to issue an offence ticket. The officer then left not after saying:” O magkakilala naman pala kayo, kayo na mag-usap” (I see, you’ve known each other, you can speak to him (his companion). He left taking the license with him and turned over to his companion.
I was having an idea that it was “street level corruption” in the making when i noticed that the driver’s conductor suddenly jump off bus and run towards this useless “taba” (fat) officer sitting at a post holding the license.
Not so long this conductor came back carrying the bus driver’s license and told the bus driver: “Ayaw pumayag ng P20 eh, P50 talaga, pang-kape daw.” (He refused to accept P20, so i gave him P50). Since I was sitting behind them i clearly hear their conversation.
In split seconds the deal was done: Confiscated license was returned in exchange of P50; A traffic enforcer earned bribe money to spend for coffee by not issuing offense ticket; and the practice goes on and on…
We have seen a number of undesirable officers being arrested in entrapment operation on TVs, yet obviously what I’ve witnessed demonstrates the fight against corruption–specially in the street level–is yet too far from over. Fortunately, i had the driver and the conductor’s conversation discretely recorded–this is evidence to how deep-rooted corruption is in our country.
This thick-skinned officers doing nasty business without any fear do not deserve any positions in the government. Until they are not prosecuted and held accountable for their acts, and until there are drivers willing to bribe them–our fight against corruption can never be won.
Wake up call to our government agencies, in particular the police: guard your ranks.