SUV with ‘7’ plate caught in busway; driver escapes

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
SUV with �7� plate caught in busway; driver escapes
A Toyota Land Cruiser with a ‘7’ protocol plate, reserved for senators, is pulled over along the EDSA busway yesterday by Department of Transportation en- forcers. Image taken from ABS-CBN.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — A luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) bearing the “7” protocol plate, usually reserved for senators, was among those whose driver was accosted for illegally using the exclusive EDSA bus lane yesterday.

Enforcers from the Department of Transportation’s Special Action and Intelligence Committee for Transportation (DOTr-SAICT) pulled over a black Toyota Land Cruiser along EDSA’s northbound lane near the Ortigas station of the bus carousel.

The car, which had conduction sticker Z4 T812, carried the protocol plate indicating it was issued during the current 19th Congress.

The driver gave his license to an SAICT enforcer but did not roll down the window.

While the enforcer was preparing the traffic violation ticket, the driver sped off and left behind the license, which had expired yesterday, according to the SAICT.

The DOTr said it had not yet found out who owned the vehicle and whether there was a passenger inside.

The agency said it would seek help from the Land Transportation Office to issue a show-cause order against the driver, who faces various charges that include the unauthorized use of the EDSA bus lane and reckless driving.

PNP stickers, ‘8’ plate

Also yesterday, four cars carrying stickers of the logos of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Bagong Pilipinas were also flagged down along the EDSA Bus Carousel. Two of the vehicles had red plates assigned to government vehicles while the other two were private vehicles.

According to earlier reports, the drivers apologized and claimed they were responding to an “emergency” at the PNP headquarters at Camp Crame.

In another incident yesterday, SAICT enforcers failed to stop the driver of a Toyota Fortuner that carried an “8” protocol plate, reserved for members of the House of Representatives, caught using the EDSA bus lane near Tramo in Pasay.

The House has declared all “8” plates “illegal and unauthorized” since no plates have been issued during the 19th Congress.

SAICT enforcers also stopped a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) ambulance, which did not carry a patient, from using the busway.

Only city buses, ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, and convoys of the President, Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed to use the EDSA bus lane, according to the government.

Offenders will be fined P5,000 to P30,000 and may have their driver’s license cancelled.

In November last year, Edison Nebrija was sacked from his post as MMDA Task Force Special Operations chief after his team pulled over a convoy that included a car carrying the “7” protocol plate. The vehicle was initially reported to be owned by Sen. Ramon Revilla, but the MMDA said the drivers claimed they only “namedropped” Revilla.

From January to March this year, the MMDA recorded apprehending 1,051 motorists for violating the EDSA bus lane policy. A majority of the cases involved motorcycles at 783; cars, 205; vans, 29; taxis, 21, and other types of vehicles, 13.

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