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Duterte receives traffic ticket

DAVAO CITY, Philippines - This time the tough guy got caught.

Pistol-packing Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was flagged down by traffic enforcers shortly after midnight yesterday and was issued a ticket for not wearing the required protective helmet while driving his Yamaha Virago 750 motorcycle along Sandawa Road corner MacArthur Highway in this city.

Traffic enforcers also accosted Romerico de la Cruz, Duterte’s security aide, who was driving a separate motorcycle also without helmet.

Superintendent Noel Fermin, chief of the city’s Traffic Management Center, said that he and 18 of his men were manning a checkpoint along Sandawa Road when they chanced upon two men on motorbikes not wearing helmets.

“We flagged down the two vehicles and it was only when it came near us that we realized it was Mayor Duterte. I told him he was being arrested for not wearing helmet because he asked me what his violation was,” Fermin said.

He said the mayor, known as a toughie in his bailiwick, did not resist when his driver’s license was taken from him.

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Ten other motorcycle drivers who were also apprehended erupted into wild applause when Duterte and his bodyguard were issued their respective Temporary Operator’s Permits. Fermin said he forwarded the mayor’s license and TOP to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) yesterday morning.

LTO said Duterte would pay a total of P1,777.63 as fine and will be required to attend a driver’s seminar before his license will be released.

The mayor said he admitted his mistake and is ready to face the consequences.

Christopher Go, Duterte’s executive assistant, said the mayor has always abided by traffic rules, security checks and body frisks in airports and hotels.

“The mayor would always insist that he would be checked and frisked. He would even take off his shoes if required in airports. He does not want to be exempted even if some airport personnel would usually say he could proceed without being checked,” Go said.

Fermin said Duterte never pulled rank over the traffic officers.

“He did not scold us or ask us not to apprehend him. He was even the one who insisted that he be ticketed. He wanted to be treated just like any other traffic violator,” he said.

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