Sen. Escudero apologizes, owns up to SUV apprehended in EDSA bus lane

By Wilnard Bacelonia

April 12, 2024, 2:25 pm

<p>EDSA Busway <em>(PNA file photo by Joan Bondoc)</em></p>

EDSA Busway (PNA file photo by Joan Bondoc)

MANILA – Senator Francis Escudero on Friday apologized to the public after his vehicle bearing the “7” protocol plate was apprehended by traffic enforcers the day before for using the EDSA Busway.

In a statement, Escudero said the use of the protocol plate was “unauthorized” as the vehicle was being driven by the driver of a family member.

He did not give specific details.

He said he had directed the driver to appear before the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and comply with the show-cause order.

"The No. 7 protocol plate was also abused because vehicles with these plates are not allowed to use bus lanes," Escudero said.

He clarified that he does not personally use the protocol plates and will surrender the ones involved in the apprehension to the Land Transportation Office.

"I commend the authorities for their vigilance and reiterate my support for government efforts to ensure that traffic rules and regulations in Metro Manila are observed by all -- regardless of rank, title or position," Escudero said.

"I apologize to the public and my colleagues in the Senate for this oversight. Moving forward, I commit to ensure that the protocol plates entrusted to me are used appropriately, consistent with the provisions of Executive Order (EO) No. 56, s. 2024."

In a viral video, the black sports utility vehicle (SUV) tailing a number of Philippine National Police vehicles were all apprehended by Special Action and Intelligence Committee for Transportation agents for accessing the exclusive lane.

The SUV driver surrendered his license to the traffic enforcers, then sped away.

Under Section 2 of EO 56, "the assignment and transfer of protocol license plates to unauthorized persons or motor vehicles is strictly prohibited that once violated shall be subjected to revocation of the granted authority, confiscation of issued protocol license plates, imposed with appropriate penalty, including administrative sanction, pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations."

Meanwhile, only ambulances transporting patients, the President, Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Justice are allowed to pass through the bus lanes.

The MMDA has been apprehending vehicles illegally passing through the bus lane, including ambulances not on emergency trips, police service vehicles and other government vehicles. (PNA)