Hours after threats, Isko Moreno presents traffic enforcer in viral extortion case

MANILA, Philippines – Hours after he threatened to fire all personnel of the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) over a viral extortion video, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno presented a traffic enforcer suspected of accepting a bribe from a family riding a motorcycle.

During the city's flag raising ceremony, Moreno had earlier threatened personnel of the MTPB that he would fire them all if they did not point to the person caught on CCTV extorting motorists.

"We will not stop. We will not tolerate. We will file charges.... Sa susunod, pag kinuha nila pera, marked money na 'yun (Next time, when they accept bribes, consider that marked money)," Moreno said on Monday, July 22.

Moreno, along with police, presented to media Ricardo Galit, the traffic enforcer supposedly in the viral extortion video posted on Facebook. During the presentation, Moreno took away Galit's ID and vest saying Galit would no longer be part of the MTPB.

Moreno said while it was correct for Galit to stop the family for failing to wear helmets as they rode along near the corner of Furgoso Street and Rizal Avenue in Manila, the mistake was accepting money.

"Paano kung hindi na videohan? Tapos naririto kami sa harapan ninyong nagsaaayos," Moreno said. (What if he wasn't caught on video? We're here in front of you now trying to make change.)

Moreno earlier said the family caught in the video was to also face punishment as there was no place for extortion in the system.

One strike policy: Moreno is on a path to return Manila to its old glory. Part of ushering in a new Manila was his promise to fight corruption within the Manila city government's ranks.

Moreno warned he would use a one-strike policy when addressing corrupt employees and officials in the capital.

SUSPECTS PRESENTED. Another two of Manila's most wanted suspects are presented to media on July 22, 2019. Photo from Manila Public Information Office

SUSPECTS PRESENTED. Another two of Manila's most wanted suspects are presented to media on July 22, 2019.

Photo from Manila Public Information Office

Before presenting Galit, Moreno had presented two more of the city's most wanted suspects, namely Ricky Bacani and Jeffrie Rey de Guzman. Bacani was wanted for murder and was in hiding for 13 years while De Guzman was Binondo's 4th most wanted person for rape. (READ: PNP rule banning presentation of suspects 'mere guidance' – Manila legal office)

"Your sons and daughters are walking along the street and then along these streets, there is someone who is wanted? What can we say about peace and order if these people are hiding in communities?" Moreno lamented.

He added, "Deep inside me, you really have to understand me, mabigat sa akin yan. May pamilya yan eh, kaya nga anong gawin ko? Pagmalasakitan ko yung pamilya niya o pagmalasakitan ko ang mga kababayan natin na umaasa na maayos yung gobyerno?"

(It's a heavy burden for me. They have families, what should I do? Should I care for their families or should I care for our citizens who are hoping for a clean government?)

"Siguro naman (Of course) I will choose the latter." – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.