Wednesday, April 13, 2005


It was a long, long night after a long, long day.

The only thing that saved it was Booj's party.

Earlier last night I got apprehended by a cop for entering a one-way street, or, more accurately, my citation was "disobedience to traffic signs". In perhaps what was an attempt to get me to just pay up, the apprehending officer was throwing not-so-subtle hints left and right, like "Ay, Miss, abala ito. Sa City Hall nyo na ike-claim ito" and "Babaan ko na lang, isang violation na lang imbes na dalawa..." and "Baka nagmamadali kayo..."

Coming from Makati Avenue from Ayala there is a little triangular block where I thought logically there would be a way to Jupiter because a left turn was disallowed (I was headed for Reposo). So I followed the cars just in front of me, which obviously also intended to go to Jupiter. I was wondering why the queue stopped moving, and then I saw this Bel-Air policeman walking toward me.

How was I to know there was a traffic sign there? Apparently it is a trap. The cop pointed out the sign, and I saw how very it was so easy for me to have missed it. Even if I did see the sign, where it was located it would have been very difficult for me to do something about it because it was a very short street, and other than swerving to the left (which is another ticketable offense, if not a dangerous maneuver) I was already committed to the route. At the time I was apprehended (7:00 PM) there were three other vehicles. Heaven knows how many motorists they apprehend in that spot per hour per day. You could just imagine how these MAPSA boys make a killing of that neat little trap--whether you pay up or opt to take the ticket.

It's their delicious little secret.

You begin to wonder what traffic signs are for. Are they for the guidance and protection of the motorists, or a revenue source for the government? It would have been so easy and very logical to put a sign--on the right side since we are a left-hand drive country--anticipating the traffic, for instance, at the the corner of Makati Avenue and that little street, "No exit to Jupiter Street". But instead it's on the left, where you as a driver will not instinctively look.

It is all suspect. There is a very malicious intent to trap motorists.

The cop made me sign the citation, and so I asked what will happen if I contested the citation. He said, "Pwede ho, pero dadagdagan ko yung citation. Isa lang ho yan kanina, pero dahil iko-contest nyo, idadagdag ko pa yung isa."

"Tinatakot po ba niyo ako? Hindi ba karapatan ng motorista i-contest yung citation, lalo na kung malabo yung lugar na kinalalagyan ng sign? Responsibilidad niyo ang bigyan niyo ng malinaw na direksyon ang motorista."

"E di i-contest niyo. Karapatan niyo e. Pero idadagdag ko yung 'entering a one-way street'. Binibigyan ko na kayo diyan kanina ng konsiderasyon."

"Ano ito, tawaran sa palengke? E kung hindi nakita yung sign ay talagang may consequent violation na yun. Bakit idadagdag mo pa yun? Tignan niyo nga at apat kaming nahuli niyo. Talagang mali yung kinalalagyan ng sign."

"E nakita niyo naman binigyan din namin ng ticket?" At that point, the cop sounded peeved. He was probably wondering why did I get stuck with this woman who won't shut up and just pay up?

"Hindi. Patunay lang na talagang may problema talaga ang sign niyo."

Now I consider myself a very careful motorist, who stops at red lights, who carefully keeps off the yellow lanes and a very upright public university professor (of above-average intelligence, I'd like to think) who honestly files her ITRs and pays her taxes honestly and dutifully--including her community tax certificates--out of her meager wages. Why would I want to deliberately disobey traffic signs if I'd seen it in the first place? Why would I deliberately want to be careless and stupid and sacrifice a huge chunk from my salary? Obviously there is a problem. And in all likelihood, it has a great deal to do with graft and corruption.

"I hate the world today."--Meredith Brooks


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