MMDA to investigate traffic enforcer involved in Stephen Speaks incident

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
MMDA to investigate traffic enforcer involved in Stephen Speaks incident
Composite image of the MMDA logo on an officer's patch and singer-songwriter Rockwell Ryan Ripperger, frontman of Stephen Speaks
STAR / file, Philstar.com / Kristofer Purnell

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced that it will investigate the traffic enforcer who was allegedly bribed by the touring crew of American pop band Stephen Speaks.

The band, fronted by singer-songwriter Rockwell Ryan Ripperger, was in Manila for a series of performances and recounted on its Facebook page an incident where its Grab car was flagged down for running a red light.


"Our Grab (like Uber) driver just got pulled in Manila over for running a red light, and my tour crew bribed him with a selfie with me to let us go. He said he sings 'Passenger Seat' at the karaoke bar. I was like…. I can’t believe that actually worked," the caption read on the band's official Facebook page. 

After the social media uproar, the singer later clarified that their car had cleared the stoplight but could not make it all the way through because someone had stopped in front of it, thus they were not in the wrong at all.

"You all need to chill out, we aren’t criminals here. I saved that kid from a traffic ticket he didn’t deserve," said Rockwell. "I offered to pay the traffic ticket for the kid, because he didn’t do anything wrong. You haters need to relax."

The MMDA said in a statement it would coordinate with Land Transportation Office Chief Jay Art Tugade to look into the possible suspension of licenses for those involved. 

"The MMDA would like to stress that fame, power and connections are not considered free passes to avoid being ticketed. It is wrong that a traffic violator was not given a citation ticket just because the passenger is a well-known figure," the agency continued.

The agency acknowledged that the apprehension may have been wrong if Rockwell's account was indeed true, explaining that cars that "cross on a green light but stucked in the middle just when the light changes to red should not be flagged down unless given signal by the enforcer beforehand."

The MMDA ended its statement by saying drivers and motorists who get away with their traffic violations "through their popularity and connections and boasting about it on social media are not praiseworthy and not something to be emulated for."

RELATED: Eyes on the road: Stephen Speaks clarifies red light incident in Manila

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