A viral video of a public prosecutor involved in an illegal parking incident has been making the rounds of social media lately. In it, the female driver argues with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel with regard to a supposed 5-minute rule.
MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia clarified the 5-minute rule in a press conference yesterday.
"Iyong 5-minute rule, pinagbigyan na nga natin sila. Dapat 'pag illegal parking, tow kaagad iyan," he said. “Kapag dating nila, 5 minutes pagdating ng MMDA, hindi 5 minutes nang malaman mo... pagdating sa area niyan, bubusina iyan, ooras ng 5 minutes. Kapag 'di dumating ang driver, ito-tow na iyan. Kapag dumating naman, kailangan tiketan mo kasi illegal parking. Hindi ibig sabihin 5 minute-rule 'pag dumating ka, hindi ka na titiketan kasi bawal 'yong ginawa niya," he said.
(That 5-minute rule is a consideration given to motorists. In truth, any instance of illegal parking should be towed right away. Once MMDA arrive at an area and spot an illegally parked car, they will blow their horn and the 5-minutes starts counting down, not from the time that you discover your infraction. If they don't arrive within 5-minutes, they will be towed. If they do arrive, they will still be given a ticket as the parking is still illegal.)
It is upon this basis that the MMDA insists she had misunderstood the five-minute rule.
In the case of the erring prosecutor, she had arrived within the 5-minutes of the MMDA's arrival, thus avoiding the cost and inconvenience of being towed. However, because the vehicle had been parked illegally, she still had to be issued a ticket, which requires the driver to present his or her license. This was no doubt exacerbated by the fact that she refused to surrender her license. The MMDA also alleges that the vehicle in question was in violation of color coding and that she had hit an enforcer on a motorcycle in her attempt to escape being towed or issued a ticket.
The prosecutor has publicly apologized to the MMDA, but the agency will continue to file charges against the erring driver with the LTO.