In my experience as a driver passing through Pasay area on my way home, the most important thing to know when a traffic enforcer pulls you over is if you indeed committed a traffic violation or not.
The first time my husband and I were pulled over was when we were at the roundabout at NAIA 3-Villamor Air Base-Resort’s World. We were on our way to Fort Bonifacio and we only realized later that we were supposed to stay on the rightmost lane. It was our first time driving in that area and the dumb thing we did was to go to the lane we were supposed to take near the solid line dividing the lanes. A Traffic enforcer in black flagged us and told us our violation was “Swerving”.
If we had researched on it beforehand, we would have known that from the MMDA site:
“Swerving is not a traffic violation per se. It is defined as a movement wherein vehicles shift from a lane to another. However, it can constitute the offense of reckless driving if it is done without precautions (e.g. swerving in an abrupt and careless manner, swerving without the use of signals, swerving across solid lines).”
At that time, my husband’s driver’s licence was still with the LTO and he was issued a receipt with a validity stamp and signature on it, which the Traffic enforcer would not accept as a valid license, but the LTO has assured us, can be used while they fixed their printing problem (which lasted 2 months!). Also we were driving a new car and our Car Registration was still being fixed by our car dealer and they issued us a letter stating the same, also something the Traffic enforcers would not accept as Registration. They were getting excited by this time and telling us that our car would be impounded and we would have to pay Php5,000 just to get it back, additional Php1,000 for driving without license, and Php1,000 for the swerving penalty. We were anxious to be on our way and afraid that they would really drag our new car to some impound lot so my husband negotiated his way out of it. The Traffic enforcer drained us of everything in our wallets and would not stop scaring and harrassing us about the violations until we told and showed him that we had nothing left (mind you we had our 1 year old and yaya in the backseat, heartlesss scum).
The second time I was flagged over was when my sister and I were on our way to NAIA 3 to pick my dad up from his flight. I was in Domestic Road, irritated by the taxi drivers that were stopping by the roadside and blocking the traffic. So I switched to the second to the left lane and turned right there. My car did not have the permanent plate number yet, telling everyone that it was new and when the enforcer saw a lady driver, he must have thanked his lucky stars. I went through the semantics with him and told him that if I have a violation, just write me the ticket and I’ll take care of it.This happened during the middle of the whole pork barrel scam blazing the media airwaves every five minutes so me, having the Iska heart, I wanted some change to happen, and for it to to start with that single moment. The Traffic enforcer spent ten minutes haggling with me about my swerving violation and told me that we could talk about it and kept reminding me that I had to go to the Pasay Traffic Management Office just to get my driver’s license back. I stood firm and told him to go ahead and write me the ticket. The stupid thing was, I paid for the traffic violation.
The third time, I was coming from work at 1am in Taguig and crossing from NAIA 3 to airport road at the Shell Intersection(cor Aurora Blvd). A big SUV was infront of me and I was tired. I had my 24 pesos ready for the toll at Cavitex on my dashboard and hid my laptop under my passenger seat. The SUV infront of me sped up upon crossing the intersection and I followed suit, only realizing halfway through that the light was already red. The Traffic Enforcer flagged me down and I stopped, opening only a portion of my car window. I told him “Sorry Boss, I thought it was still green, sinundan ko lang yung nasa harap, alam ko may violation ako, please write me the ticket.” As per usual, he said “pwedeng pag-usapan”, the usual convo. I told him ” gustohin ko man boss, eto lang meron ako” and showed him the coins I prepared for toll fee. I told him I stopped because I know I was wrong so write me the ticket. His shoulders heaved and he said, “Ok na, tandaan nyo na lang po wag nyo na ulitin.” He was kind and understanding, which I appreciated but this validated the fact that he wasn’t after catching traffic delinquents, he was only after the quick cash.
The next time around I was smarter. I was driving through Taft going to Macapagal Ave and on the second lane from the left. It was in the middle of a traffic jam and the light was green at 2 seconds when I crossed the intersection. But because there was a holdup on the vehicles at Macapagal Avenue, the light turned yellow and then red when I had crossed the intersection. There were six Traffic enforcers in black waiting at the other side. The other motorists who were with me did not stop when the enforcers flagged them down. I stopped,confused on what had happened and if I committed a violation. I was driving at the time because my husband, who was in the passenger seat lost his wallet, in it his driver’s license. We were talking, sure that the light was green and waiting to see why the enforcer flagged us. But the Pasay Men In Black were busy chasing down the others that did not stop, so none of them approached us while we were at the side of the road for ten seconds.I drove on and when I reached the next intersection, the MIB Enforcer was on a motorcycle, flashing me with his flashlight and motioning for me to stop. I spent five minutes telling the Traffic Enforcer that the light was green. Again he went on to say that I would have to claim my driver’s license at the Pasay Traffic Management Office and spend a day’s leave on it. It must be an extortion script they got from extortion university or something.They know it so well.
I told him I didn’t commit any violation and you know that, the light was green. He asked me to alight my vehicle and I told him I don’t need to do that (this is what they do so that you will get embarrassed by the onlookers). That got him angry and I told him to just write me the ticket already because my daughter is sick and I have to bring her medicine (which was true by the way). I was annoyed that this cocky and power tripping traffic Enforcer and while I was shouting at him that he is making up this violation he was shouting back that if I was brave enough, to contest it when I get to the PTMO. So I did just that. In return he had to pay for the Php500 violation himself and I said sorry that I shouted at him and he said sorry back. Then I shook his hand like a human being. We can note here that I played the I don’t have money to pay for this card again. I said my car is still on loan, I work hard, earn only enough and pay taxes on time.
The fourth time I encountered them was when my husband and I took my daughter to a VTR in Pasong-Tamo, Makati.
We were traversing Buendia Road and finding the way back to Macapagal Avenue when a bus was coming out of the DLTB garage. My husband switched to the lane on his left, unaware that the first two lanes are supposed to take the U-turn slot. There was no sign stating it, just the turn left road marker. The cars infront of us went in the same direction that we did and we were then flagged down by four guys in green. I didn’t want to negotiate and it was taking so long but they eventually wrote us the ticket. The violations written were “Obstruction” and disregarding lane markings.
As reviewed under the Pasay Traffic Rules and Violation, Sec. 120 is on “Obstructing Roads by Motor Vehicles Vendors Stalled Vehicles.” What was written in the ticket was “S120 Obstructing Road-Disregarding Lane.” We contested that no obstruction of the road happened and the citations in the ticket doesn’t coincide with the alleged violation. We did not pay for the said violation and after some small talk with them, they gave us a number to call in case we would be apprehended again, jokingly saying to each other, “Tandaan nyo na si ma’am ha!”
Here are my tips to drivers who may have had or will have an encounter with PTMO Men in Black:
1. Know the Traffic Violations. Below are some of the famous ones and some links for reference.
2. Ask for the Traffic Enforcer’s name,the Traffic Management office he is from, the specific alleged violation, his Mission Order, and take note of the time and specific place of apprehension. These are crucial things to note when you contest the violation at the PTMO.
3. You do not need to get off your vehicle. Do not be intimidated into doing this.
4. Play the “I have no money card”. It might work for you as well if you do not have valuable items lying around during the apprehension, but probably not if you’re driving an expensive car.
5. Take photos or videos which may be helpful when you contest the traffic violation. I took some and attached it to the contest letter that we submitted and the Traffic Enforcer was panicked about it, saying that his poor kids would be affected if it invaded social media. I wanted to say to him that he has no reason to be afraid if he wasn’t doing anything wrong but I understood his point and discarded the photos from this post.
6. Know the areas that are famous for Kotong.
7. For women driving along, make sure your car is tinted so you are not seen from the outside. You will be a favorite person for them and will invent all kinds of violations for you (as stated in http://motioncars.inquirer.net/35008/the-many-colors-of-traffic-law-enforcement).
Please state in the comments if you have anything to add =)
So now you can safely take out that Php100 bill you have strategically inserted into the jacket of your driver’s license for encounters of this kind. I challenge you to also start the change within yourself. It starts with one, then a handful, then maybe, just maybe, our mindset that keeping that Php100 bill in there is the most natural thing in the world because “everybody does it” will eventually be changed. We are all better than that, right?
Stay safe, observe proper courtesy when driving and good luck to the Pasay Traffic enforcers when they flag you down!