MMDA Chairman claims he defended himself to disarm barangay tanod in Makati

March 15, 2012 9:21 am 

MANILA, March 14 — Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino claimed that he was only defending himself when he disarmed a barangay tanod of Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo in Makati City, to unclog traffic and dismantle illegal terminals near the Guadalupe Commercial Center last Tuesday morning.

In a television interview, Tolentino claimed that he merely disarmed barangay tanod Raymond Palama of his night stick because he was in front of him when he arrived.

“It was only a natural reaction for me to disarm him and to check if there was danger, I don’t want to be hit by baton,” said Tolentino.

In a CCTV footage of barangay, the MMDA chairman, with several MMDA personnel, disarmed tanod Palma of his night stick.

Tolentino admitted he grabbed the baton and tapped gently Palma’s “bulging” side pocket.

He said contrary to the earlier report he did not beat up Palama but he just shoved him away from him because he had not lowered his left hand.

The MMDA chairman admitted that he was prompted to oversee the implementation of a new traffic scheme in the area on Tuesday morning following reports that his men encountered resistance and were harassed by barangay watchmen on Monday night.

“So I was prompted on Tuesday morning to personally enforce the traffic scheme as one of measures to solve the traffic gridlock in Guadalupe area and end the illegal terminal,” said Tolentino.

“Pasensya na pero kailangan nating ipatupad ang nararapat,” he explained.

He also claimed that the agency had a dialogue with the barangay officials prior to enforcement of the traffic scheme.

The commotion involving the MMDA chief and the barangay tanod was a result of the blocking of the road by some 300 men from the Sidewalk Clearing Operations Group led by consultant Maximo Dilla and Eduardo Lara last Monday.

The personnel blocked Burgos road leading to EDSA highway a few meters route going through the under the Gudalupe bridge where it prevented hundreds of jeepneys plying the route of Guadalupe-L.Guinto, Pateros, Gate 3, Monday afternoon.

However, Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo chairman Rodolfo Sese claimed there was no proper coordination before the implementation of the scheme.

Sese said there were no notice or even a traffic plan for the MMDA to divert thousands of public and private vehicles passing in the said market road and they had conducted a meeting with Traffic Operation Center Director Yves Gonzales and they agreed to withhold the closure pending the new traffic plan where they will present it to officials of City of Makati.

“We had a meeting on Monday afternoon with and Gonzales,we agreed for a status quo but we were surprised to see MMDA trucks blocking EDSA, preventing jeepneys to traverse that snarled the traffic and confused the commuters and jeepney operators ,” Sese said.

Meanwhile, Palama filed a complaint for allegedly being hit by the MMDA chief.

The complaint was lodged by Palama after he was allegedly beaten by Tolentino with a cane.

Palama averred that he was beaten by Tolentino after they met at the center of the road near the Guadalupe Commercial Center as the latter was prompted to go to the area upon learning that his men encountered resistance while implementing the re-routing scheme.

The barangay tanod lodged the complaint against Tolentino and was reportedly being backed by Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo Chairman Rodolfo Sese. (PNA)

RSV/CLTC

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