Former Sen. JV Ejercito shared his recent experience being “boxed in” by a convoy of expensive cars last August 2.
But instead of empathy, his tweet gathered tongue-in-cheek comments from critics.
Ejercito tweeted that a convoy of black Alphard vehicles, a luxury Toyota model, cornered his car in one of the lanes at a highway and attached a photo of it. He did not indicate his specific whereabouts that time.
He alleged that they came from one of the casinos within the Mall of Asia area in Pasay City.
“Sobra na dami siga sa daan. I suspect these are from the casinos in MOA area. Are these Guys allowed to act this way?” Ejercito tweeted.
Convoy of black Alphards and and an Escalade muscling and even boxed us out to the other lane. Sobra na dami siga sa daan. I suspect these are from the casinos in MOA area. Are these Guys allowed to act this way? pic.twitter.com/D3ywdmjsRp
— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) August 2, 2019
Some Filipinos mocked him in comments and retweets, pointing out that his ordeal was just part of their daily grind as commuters.
One of them, Twitter user @negapark said: “Thank God something wrong inconvenienced someone powerful, so that it can finally matter.”
Meanwhile, another user @Rightofway preferred that government officials and other public figures take action on these incidents than share them online.
“It would be nice if they were as incensed as the public is. We, the public can only shrug our shoulders. But those in government positions have access to resources we don’t. I wish they’d do something other than admire the car,” the user said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, purported that the Alphard is a favorite of Chinese employees in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGOs, an online gambling industry dominated by Chinese workers.
To this, Ejercito replied: “Yup! Kaya hard to buy an Alphard, the POGOs and Casinos buy them!”
Ejercito then went on to narrate his experience that night. He did not mention any action or solution to this traffic problem.
Yup! Kaya hard to buy an Alphard, the POGOs and Casinos buy them! Pero grabe experience last night my dtiver alresdy gave way to their convoy, we were still being pushed to the other lane. Medyo abuso na din. These characters involved are feeling entitled.
— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) August 3, 2019
Are there violations of the law?
There’s no specific provision in Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code regarding the case of cornering or “boxing in” vehicles on major roads and highways.
However, there are rules on overtaking vehicles on roads that have two or more lanes as stated in the act’s Article II.
Meanwhile, Section 55 states that any act of obstruction of traffic on the highway is prohibited.
“No person shall drive his motor vehicle in such a manner as to obstruct or impede the passage of any vehicle, nor, while discharging or taking on passengers or loading or unloading freight, obstruct the free passage of other vehicles on the highway.”
The rise of online gambling
In 2016, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp introduced POGOs to the country and had since allowed online gaming operators from mainland China, originally outlawed by China’s President Xi Jinping.
POGOs continued to expand in urban areas, mainly employing Chinese workers, both legal and illegal.
While the industry’s growth may appear to be a boost to the local economy, the Department of Finance and the Bureau of Internal Revenue found that many of these firms and employees are not paying their taxes.
This also affects the prices of the local real estate within these gaming firms, making them too expensive for Filipino buyers and tenants.