Manila traffic enforcer’s slay triggers demolition

Rey Galupo - The Philippine Star
Manila traffic enforcerâs slay triggers demolition
Manila city hall personnel demolish illegal structures along Railroad street in Barangay 650, Port Area yesterday. Inset shows a SWAT officer guarding the site.
Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Manila Police District (MPD) and city engineering office demolished yesterday illegal structures and other road obstructions in Barangay 650, Port Area in a move to flush out criminals.

The clearing operation was conducted days after a Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) employee was shot dead by two unidentified assailants along Railroad street.

Special Weapons and Tactics policemen and members of the Special Mayor’s Reaction Team headed by Maj. Rosalino Ibay Jr. barricaded the entry and exit points in the barangay while at least 200 men ripped down the illegal stalls and cleared the sidewalks of obstructions, including makeshift houses and stores selling bicycles at around 9 a.m.

Ibay said the operation aims to clear Port Area of obstructions and “retake the street occupied by the vendors.”

MTPB member Ronaldo Malonzo was texting in front of a store when he was gunned down on Sept. 6.

Malonzo was reportedly mistaken for a police asset.

A female vendor was seen on closed-circuit television footage picking up the bullet shells and giving it to the gunmen shortly after Malonzo was killed, prompting police to believe that she knew the assailants.

The suspects casually walked away from the crime scene, police said.

The assailants managed to escape before the arresting team arrived in the area.

“Someone from the barangay had tipped them off,” Ibay said.

Personnel of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) cut the power supply along Railroad street yesterday.

Ibay said there were only two electric meters for some 150 houses in the area.

“We tried to enter this place before but we were unsuccessful because they were prepared to fight. In fact, a shooting occurred between the police and some residents when we tried to cut the illegal electric connections,” a Meralco lineman told The STAR.

One of the residents admitted that aside from electricity, illegal water connections are also controlled by a group that collects payment from every household.

Ibay said barangay officials confirmed that the illegal structures were being used as warehouses by traders in Greenhills, San Juan and Baseco Compound.

Police said barangay officials were accused of coddling those behind the illegal activities “because they were raking money from the system.”

“I don’t believe that barangay officials don’t know what’s happening in their jurisdiction,” Ibay said.


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