MMDA sues Carabuena for assaulting traffic enforcer

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Wednesday filed a criminal complaint against a Philip Morris executive who beat up a traffic enforcer in Quezon City last Saturday.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said he has directed the agency’s Legal Service to file direct assault charges against Robert Blair Carabuena, Philip Morris recruitment officer, on behalf of Traffic Constable Saturnino Fabros.

The criminal complaint was filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City, Tolentino said.

“We cannot allow this aggression and shameless attack against our men who are only doing their job as best as they can, regardless of the risks they face in the streets every day,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino added that as the assault on Fabros is also an attack against the MMDA, he demanded that Carabuena issue a public apology.

“We at the MMDA condemn to the highest degree the physical assault perpetrated by an abusive and violent motorist on our hapless traffic enforcer who was just enforcing traffic laws,” he said.

“This, I believe, is the last thing the MMDA can afford. It defames the person of Mr. Saturnino Fabros, the undersigned as chief executive of the office, as well as the MMDA’s,” Tolentino added.

According to Tolentino, Fabros was just doing his job dutifully as a traffic enforcer.

“The actions of Mr. Robert Blair Carabuena showed total disregard for a person of authority and a blatant disrespect for the law,” Tolentino said.

“A public apology is demanded from Mr. Carabuena, not only for Mr. Fabros, but for the entire Authority, which he unjustly and intentionally offended,” Tolentino said.

Tolentino said all support will be given by the agency to Fabros “in his search for justice in the proper court.”

“I urge the MMDA community to continue the good work that we have shown for the past years, and because of your support and cooperation, we have served the public and achieved our mission with sincerity, and integrity. Keep in mind that this incident should not have happened in the first place. Nonetheless, I trust that this unfortunate spectacle shall become an example for all motorists on how to behave and conduct themselves,” Tolentino said in a statement.

Carabuena was caught on video slapping Fabros several times over a traffic violation. Fabros said he had tried to apprehend Carabuena after he ignored the stop signal at the corner of Capitol Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said he will also ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel Carabuena’s driver’s license as “abusive and arrogant motorists like him, who obviously do not have serious regard to the rule of law, have no right to be in the road in the first place.”

Under the Revised Penal Code, direct assault is charged to any person who shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties. Direct assault is punishable by a prison term of six months to six years.