ARMM governor warns ‘kotong’ cops, LTO agents in Maguindanao

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/22 December) – Extortion in the highways of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), particularly in Maguindanao province, is still happening, with acting ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman warning policemen and Land Transportation Office (LTO) agents of sanctions once proven guilty of “kotong.”

Hataman issued the warning after a traveler, who requested anonymity, told local radio station DXND that she was flagged down by uniformed police and LTO personnel and was asked to pay penalties for a traffic violation.

“At first, I was told to pay them P1, 500, then P1,000, then later P300.  I told myself I won’t give them money but we were in a hurry to go to a place so we have no choice but to hand the cash,” she said.

Hataman told the radio station that traffic inspection is not yet devolved to the ARMM regional government.

“It is still the Land Transportation Office that is tasked to do highway check.   I have not given any of our personnel or employees to perform such task,” he said.

After learning of the complaint, Hataman said he would instruct the regional director of the LTO-ARMM to look into the matter,

The alleged extortion took place along the highway in Datu Paglas town in Maguindanao, the complainant said. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)