Highway Robbery Along UP

Highway Robbery (Photo credit: Woot)
Highway Robbery (Photo credit: Woot)

We were on our way home from Antipolo City when a group of men wearing yellow long-sleeves flagged us down for “smoke-emission” test daw. Turned out

Highway Robbery    (Photo credit:   Woot)
Highway Robbery (Photo credit: Woot)

they are ASBU officers. Not far away, our driver was already saying “sabi ko na nga ba eh!” (bro-tip#1: H’wag titingin sa mata ng mga MMDA/ASBU officers, dahil ang end story lang niyan eh huhulihin ka sa kung anu-anong dahilan.

Hanep! May pang-amusal na ang mga damuho!) Being “dull-minded” as I am when it comes to vehicle rules, I asked him to stop. We willingly parked our car alongside of the road since beforehand, pumasa na yung vehicle namin sa test na ‘to (I remember my kuya handed me the car’s registration with a guy on the picture posing near our plate #).

I stayed inside the car while our driver and our helper took care of the situation. Though inside, I had a good look at the “machine” they’re using. An ASBU officer went inside the car and stepped on the gas for about 5x while a guy outside was reading the results.

To my horror, we failed. Pano’ng nangyare y’un eh kakapasa pa nga lang ng unit namin sa smoke-emission test? We weren’t given the chance to see the result ourselves. They just said na bagsak daw. Later on, our driver whispered to me, “Ate, walang pumapasa sa smoke-emission test na yan. Bigyan na lang natin ng 200.”

Then there, my principles in life were put into test. I was torn between two difficult choices: tutubusin ko ba ‘to ng 1,000 sa City Hall at pagtiisan ang lahat ng abala o maglalagay na lang ako ng 200 para ma-satisfy ang mga damuhong ito?

I always said to myself that if ever I was put in a situation like this, I would firmly say NO to “kotong kings”; dahil nga naman the more I tolerate this, the more na pinalalala ko lang ang malala nang sitwasyon sa Pilipinas.

“Kuya, ‘di ba masama yun? Tubusin nalang natin sa City Hall.” I answered back.

Ganyan talaga ang labanan dito sa Pilipinas. Pag ‘di ka naglagay, maaabala ka.”

Later on, I found myself handing our driver a 200 peso bill. For a moment, I felt like I was one of those people I hate the most: a liar, a cheater, and a thief. I wasn’t brave and firm enough to stand for what I believe in. I admit naging mahina ako, and it isn’t because we’re about to be P200 poorer.

Ayaw namin ng abala (as most would say it). Dahil sa mga taong katulad ko na may malinaw na pang-unawa sa kung anong tama at mali, pero pilit pa ring ginagawa ang mali, kaya patuloy na napag-iiwanan sa pansitan ang Pilipinas.

Hindi ko alam baka isang araw, isa sa mga ASBU officers na minsang pumara sa ‘min eh sa bandang huli mahahalal bilang isang councilor ng isang lalawigan. To tell you honestly, as much as I don’t want to engage with it, maraming lakad namin ang maaabala.

Ang masakit eh ginagamit lang nilang dahilan ang “Clean Air Act“. This isn’t about caring for the environment, this is about money-making racket!!! To those who will have the same experience as ours, please don’t make the same mistake. This country needs righteous citizens! Ang mahirap kasi sa ‘ting mga Pilipino puro tayo bato ng reklamo sa gobyerno (oil price hike? Blame the goverment! Rice shortage? Blame the goverment! Insufficient jobs? Blame the goverment! At uunahan na kita, if your toe nails died, you’re welcome to blame the goverment, too) without knowing na isa rin naman pala tayo sa mga nagiging sakit ng ulo ng bansa.

And finally, to the ASBU officers we encountered an hour ago: “Walang kasalanang hindi pinagbabayaran. May araw din kayo.”

author:  justdare to think



  1. Please read the MMDA website FAQ portion to know regulations re traffic violations. The license should not be confiscated in a swerving violation. Know your rights as a driver. Keep a copy of this memo on your car so you have something to show to the traffic enforcer when you are aggrieved.

      • Thanks for this. I am a new driver so am not very knowledgeable. But being new also means that I am very careful at driving, so it is such a dismay that despite this I am still apprehended. Especially if there is no swerving that actually happened. Plus the MMDA officer(!) insisted that he will confiscate my license. At least now I know.

        How about Sagitsetero’s situation? Was it legal for his driver’s license to be confiscated due to violation of color coding?

  2. I was an OFW just returned from for a month vacation, I have the same story of getting aprehended for violation of color coding…I’ve been away for almst 2 years never knowing the place where there are windows in between 10am to 3pm…so I was not aware that Las Pinas is not included in this exemption…to cut the stor short, I was told by the traffic enforcer that Las Pinas is not included in the window and then I ask him how much is the fine if ever I will redeem it in their office, when the officer told me that I will pay PHP300 I immediately told him to give me a traffic violation receipt (TVR)..then I wait in-front of my steering wheel…I told him that it would be much better to pay to help their municipality draw funds from violators…I can feel the dismay from the face of the enforcer since I never offer any “lagay’ as I can feel it due to his action behind making some delays that will make me irritated that will follow-up and offer “areglo”…but I just waited for the TVR…

    After 2 days I redeemed my Drivers License and just paid PHP300.00 and still I feel clean and proud for not letting another culprit enforcer get a grab of my hard earned money.. =))

  3. I had a similar experience, only this time the MMDA cited me for swerving. I was really aghast since I have been traversing the second lane for more than a kilometer but the officer kept insisting that I swerved from the 3rd lane to the 2nd. It was my word against his. And like you I was torn whether to give “kotong” or not when he suddenly said “Ma’am, pano ko ba kayo matutulungan?”

    The incident happened in Libis and I reside in Cavite, needless to say, it would be so great a hassle if I let him confiscate my license. I had Php50 cash then, my only cash on hand, so I gave that to him. Then he said, “Ma’m, hindi ako mapapahamak dito ha.”

    Several days after the incident, I was still mad at him and at myself. If only licenses are not confiscated (like in other countries), I would have willingly let him ticket me and just contest it later on. I sent a letter to MMDA regarding this but I am not expecting anything from them. Just needed to air my disgust on these men in uniform.

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