DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/07 July) – After being spotted by a TV news crew beating the red light in Manila, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s convoy this time obeyed traffic rules here.
Although escorted by two motor-riding cops and several other policemen, the party negotiated the major streets of this city without “wang-wang” or sirens as well as blinkers.
But the motor-riding cops waved their hands and swerved to give way to the convoy as they approached the congested portion of Diversion Road in Buhangin District before making a left turn at the Quiñones Road leading to JP Laurel Avenue.
Coincidentally, the traffic lights along JP Laurel Avenue were only flashing.
One of Binay’s aides inside the van complained about their slow movement.
“Ambagal naman. Pero mahirap na di tayo susunod , lalabas naman tayo sa TV” (It’s so slow. But if we don’t observe [the traffic rules], we would again be shown on TV), the aide remarked.
On Tuesday, Binay’s convoy was caught by a GMA 7 television crew beating the red light along Araneta Avenue on its way back to the Office of the Vice President on President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City.
As the convoy reached the junction of Sta. Ana Avenue and Quirino Avenue, the convoy stopped for a while since the red light was already on. But the traffic officer allowed the convoy to move on even if the red light was on.
The convoy was once again stuck along Ponciano Street due to heavy traffic but it managed to get away when the passenger jeepneys gave way.
Upon arrival in Davao City, Binay was welcomed by Mayor Sara Duterte, city councilors, police and military officials.
His convoy left the Davao International Airport at 3:15pm and arrived 15 minutes later at Grand Menseng Hotel where he was welcomed by teachers and members of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines.
“Humihingi po ako ng paumanhin, wala po kasing wang-wang ang eroplano,” (I apologized because the plane had no siren) Binay quipped before at least 200 teachers, adding he was supposed to arrive about an hour earlier.
Binay, also the current president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP), was the guest speaker at the gathering of the teachers who are part of the BSP’s Davao Council.
Aside from the BSP, Binay also met with his party mates in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban. He is closely escorted by Councilor Wendell Avisado, a known ally of the Dutertes.
President Benigno Aquino III has ordered a ban on the use of sirens even by public officials and said he would impose the order even on himself.
Presidential Decree 96 provides that sirens “may be attached to and use only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.”
For government officials, it says that only the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Supreme Court Chief Justice are entitled to use such devices. (Keith Bacongco/MindaNews)