Extortion Scam 101

Posted: May 10, 2016 in Services Review
Tags: , ,

In light of the May 9 presidential election and a promise of new beginnings, I pray and hope that given the power to run a country, much less a city truly serve for the people who begrudgingly or not, elected them as leaders.

May 3, my boyfriend parked the cab he drives in front of the building where I live. As you can see in the picture below, Avida created a parking space for its customers.

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Ample space provided for by Avida for the pedestrians passing by. Around 4PM, a Sto. Nino towing truck came and towed my boyfriend’s cab. He left a paper citing him for obstruction claiming that where Ricky parked was a towing zone and obstructed passersby.

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As shown above, space was created for parking. The area where this SUV was conveniently parked was where Ricky parked his. Notice the indentation and color variation from the street claimed by Sto. Nino as a no parking tow zone.

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We called the moment we looked outside my window and noticed that the parking area was empty. Ricky went down immediately. He wasn’t even in my unit for an hour when this incident occurred. When he came up we dialed the contact number printed on the piece of paper left by a certain PF Derilo. Someone named Virgie answered the phone and said Derilo left since it was nearly 5PM. I asked if there was someone else to talk to because we’d like to get the cab. Ricky was cursing in the background and was hardly any help with the situation. He was getting ready to confront the guy who towed his cab. Virgie said it wont help going there that time as they were about to close at 5PM, that we need to wait til the next day and clear the mess up in city hall. She then passed the phone to a guy named Aguirre who tried to explain to me that the violation was clearly obstruction. Naturally I told him it was parked inside a parking slot and being a resident for nearly a year now, I am well aware of the traffic rules around me. The cab was not in any way obstructing anything. Avida had that space for their customers and yes, Ricky wasn’t a customer but if it was any other car they wont have towed it.

Since the talk on the phone proved useless, the very next day we went to Avida and got Mark to tell us that the space was indeed a parking space and that any other vehicles not Avida customers will be towed for illegal parking. They did not report Ricky’s cab for illegal parking. They were also not asked about the cab being there with no driver present.

The guards of my building were also asked and they told me no one approached them to inquire where the driver went. Armed with the photos and then the ordinance 588, s-2014 we went to file a complaint against the illegal towing at the legal department of the Mandaluyong City Hall.

The complaint was filed at 11AM and the male arbiter told us they’d message Derilo. In three hours if he does not show up we wont pay a single cent. They called him around 1135AM, meaning we would need to wait until 235PM. Despite the grumbling of our stomachs, we stayed inside the office because we do not want to lose due to technicality or “non-appearance.”

It was nearly 235PM when the guy named Derilo appeared  but the hearing did not start immediately. It took some 20 minutes more before Ricky was called inside the cubicle. I was advised not to join so I stayed at the far corner. The arbiter who took the complaint left and was replaced by a female arbiter who far more interested in other people’s fight than the case she was handling. She also did not even look at the photos nor videos we brought with us. The ordinance we photocopied and highlighted points for our defense was likewise dismissed. She insisted that Derilo did his part and there was obviously an obstruction of a public area. Basically we needed to pay the 2K penalty for the towing. She ignored the part that Derilo failed to look for the driver just because they only had a 5 minute window to find the driver of an abandoned vehicle. Since Derilo did not ask the guards of my building, he felt it was right to tow and penalized Ricky for “obstruction.”

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Merriam-Webster defines obstruction as a blockage or hindrance. The cab was parked inside a parking space and was not a hindrance to foot traffic. When asked why the other vehicles that were in clear violation of the no parking-tow away zone were not towed, her only reply was that they cant tow all at once. It had to be Ricky’s unlucky day to be the only cab in a parking lot with two other cars because that made him a viable victim.

An entire day was wasted only to lose still. She was adamant and insisted that they from time to time would just let a violation go with a slap on the wrist. As for Ricky, the fine stands. You can imagine his fury. He lost a day and a half of earnings on top of the 2K fine he was about to pay.

Honestly the whole deal was fishy for me. The male arbiter leaving, the guy Derilo arriving 10 minutes prior to the 3 hour limit, the female arbiter getting all defensive but not paying heed to our evidence…you can’t help but feel they are all in cahoots with each other. The Sto. Nino towing company was not even government owned and the place they were at looked more like a junkyard. They got in for the kill and victimized someone who worked hard to earn a living.

This is extortion at its finest. Camouflaged by a so called ordinance to milk unassuming victims out of their hard earned living and deprive them of a daily income. The government people behind this should be the ones penalized and to think there are tarps everywhere showing a complaint should just be an hour tops. What good was the complaint forum for if they would play deaf and dumb to evidences that prove them wrong?

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