MANILA — The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) will start going after motorists using the protocol “No. 8” license plates, a PNP official on Thursday said.
HPG director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo issued the directive after House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the recall of all protocol license plates with the No. 8, which were issued during the 16th Congress and earlier.
“Nag-issue na ako sa lahat ng ating chiefs nationwide na mag-conduct ng crackdown sa plaka na 8 at mabuti nga naman na ang ating Congress nag-issue na rin na i-surrender na ang ganitong plaka. Tutulungan naming ang Congress na hanapin ‘yung mga plaka and we will crack down on plate number 8 (I already issued an order to all our chiefs nationwide to crack down on those vehicles with licence plates 8 and good thing Congress also issued an order to surrender these kind of plates. We will also help the Congress to locate these plates),” Fajardo said.
He added that they are also going to check with the Land Transportation Office if other commemorative plates are still valid or have expired.
Fajardo’s order came after a motorist, identified as Jojo Valerio, who was driving a sports-utility-vehicle with plate No. “8,” got involved in a road rage in Angeles, Pampanga.
The road rage incident involving a Toyota FJ Cruiser with plate No. “8” went viral online. The viral video showed the driver of the FJ Cruiser hitting the driver of a red sedan on McArthur Highway.
According to media reports, the road rage suspect was arrested at a bar in Tarlac City on Tuesday night and was identified as Jojo Valerio, 30, a resident of Quezon City. He is said to be a band singer and businessman.
Fajardo said that they have already located the vehicle but it has a different color.
He said they are working to gather necessary documents in order to impound Valerio’s vehicle, which was involved in the incident.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde reminded cops to be courteous at all times, especially when flagging down vehicles regardless of whether the motorist is a public official or not.
“You cannot refuse if you have a violation, they will go after you, the highway patrol will not flagged you down if you don’t have an offense),” the PNP chief told reporters when asked during the opening of 26th Defense and Sporting Arms Show held at SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.
He also urged his men assigned to do traffic works not to be intimidated by motorists driving cars with the “No. 8” protocol plate.
“There is nothing wrong in flagging down these vehicles for as long as our personnel would do it in a proper way. While the Land Transportation Office (LTO) allows its use, there are restrictions,” the PNP chief added.
Albayalde said abusive motorists using protocol plates should be apprehended since it is also a way of finding out if the protocol plate is genuine or not.
“There are fakes because it can be copied, there are indeed fake No. 8 plates,” he noted.
The Department of Transportation and Communications assigns protocol plates to politicians: “1” for the President; “2” for the Vice President; “3” for the Senate President; “4” for the Speaker of the House of Representatives; “5” for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; “6” for Cabinet Secretaries; “7” for senators; “8” for congressmen; “9” for the associate justices of the high court; and “10” for the presiding justice, other justices of the Court of Appeals and the Solicitor General. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com