Sara denies causing Commonwealth traffic jam; cop in viral video now under probe
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte denied being responsible for the traffic jam that was caused by the closure of a portion of Commonwealth Avenue by the Quezon City Police District on Thursday.
In a statement sent to reporters, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) denied requesting a convoy to pass through Commonwealth, which a Quezon City police officer was heard saying in a now-viral video.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said in a statement that the police officer in the video has now been ordered relieved and will be investigated, according to a statement late Thursday night.
Duterte also wrote to the QCPD on Thursday to urge them to “rectify this falsehood and publicly state the real reason for the road closure, including naming the supposed (Very Important Person) who requested such action.”
Duterte was in Mindanao today for activities related to the celebration of World Teacher’s Day, the OVP statement said.
The Department of Education (DepEd) Facebook page also posted photos of Duterte and Sen. Imee Marcos attending an event in Butuan City on Thursday.
The OVP has also called on the QCPD to conduct a probe and “hold all those responsible accountable for their action, including the liability of the person who took the video and maliciously appended the traffic stop to the Vice President.”
“The viral video is spreading injurious information that is purely grounded in falsity,” the OVP statement added.
Relief ordered for police in video
The QCPD apologized to motorists and the OVP for the incident in a statement posted Thursday night.
The incident was caused by “confusion and lapse in judgement” of the police officer manning the traffic at that time.
A video posted by former Bayan Muna lawmaker Teddy Casiño on Twitter showed a police officer identifying the vice president as the reason for the road closure. In particular, the cop said that a “VIP (Very Important Person) will be passing through” and that the road was restricted for the convoy of the “VP.”
“It appears that our policeman overreacted when he stopped the traffic for a few minutes, because of misleading information he overheard,” the QCPD statement read.
“Accordingly, Sgt. Pantallano mistakenly heard the word VP hence, he decided to clear the traffic as a sign of courtesy and security, where in fact, based on records, VP Sara Duterte has no engagement in that particular area,” the statement added.
Pantallano — the police officer in the video — also said that he is apologizing to Duterte over the incident. He “truly believed that there was a VIP,” Pantallano said in Filipino.
PLTCol. May Genio of the Holy Spirit Police Station 14 said that he has ordered the relief of Pantallano and placed him under investigation “to determine administrative liability for his actions.”