Coloma also vowed to investigate the matter as the video of his convoy led by the San Mateo traffic police has started going viral after we posted it at http://www.krislibrary.com/1/post/2012/02/did-secretary-sonny-coloma-give-my-baby-his-first-taste-of-official-abuse-pls-watch-video.html .
“I will look into those things, Armand. Again, my deepest apologies,” said Coloma when we told him that it was the sirens and blinkers of the traffic police of San Mateo – the Office of Public Safety and Security, the local version of the MMDA in Metro Manila – that startled my wife Ann and infuriated other drivers who thought the “wang-wang” days were over, as promised by President Aquino.
Three OPSS vehicles were escorting Coloma, two in front and one at the back, that was preventing other vehicles from getting near Coloma’s convoy. What angered motorists traversing the usually clogged Kambal Road was that the convoy was not only causing bedlam by their blowing of horns and sirens but were also causing traffic as they overtook vehicles and stopped incoming vehicles from proceeding, bringing traffic to a stand-still.
It was these actions – the wang-wang and swerving here and there of motorcycle escorts – that startled my wife who was driving and causing us to nearly hit a parked truck. The sudden swerving of our car to the right as Coloma’s escorts motioned us to stop so they can overtake us caused my eight-month-old baby, who I cradled in my arm, to hit his head in the leathered panel of the car’s door.
Coloma was then going to the Presidents-Elect Training Seminar 2012 of the Rotary International District 3830 at the Timberland Sports and Nature Club in San Mateo, Rizal. Coloma, a past Rotary International district governor, was the guest speaker at the two-day event. Coloma was riding a black Starex van with plate number RHH 202.
Last Saturday afternoon, Coloma also sent through fellow public relations executive Charlie Agatep a text message stating thus: “I apologize to Mr. Nocum and his family. I was unaware that the security detail assigned to me last night by the San Mateo police had caused him and his family undue anxiety and inconvenience.”
Much later, he sent me a press release via text which he also sent to the media. It read: “On Friday, 10 Feb, at around 6:30 pm, while on my way to a speaking engagement, I was provided by the San Mateo police with two motorcycle escorts. Only today, I learned that the motorcycle escorts accompanying my official vehicle caused another vehicle to swerve.”
“This incident caused undue stress and anxiety to the occupants of the vehicle, Mr. Armand Nocum, his wife and their infant child. I extend my apology to Mr. Nocum and his family. I have requested the San Mateo police department to require the two policemen who served as my escort to render an account of this incident so that proper remedial measures may be adopted.”
And our reply to this is that we appreciate Secretary Coloma’s immediate apology which shows his humility and maturity as a government official. However, we are a bit concerned about the good Secretary’s seeming evasiveness on the issue of the police escorts blowing their horns and sirens which they stopped doing so when we started taking video because it was also that time when we were negotiating the steep road to Timberland Heights and there were no longer other vehicles to stop and overtake.
We hope there will be no white-wash. As a long-time former Malacanang reporter for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, I have seen how traffic cops in the provinces can be overly eager to please Manila-based, national officials that they blow their horns and blinkers at full volume to make “pasikat” and to please the visiting officials. In fairness to Sec. Coloma, he could have been a victim of such provincial "wang-wang" mentality.
The accident could have given my newly-operated heart an attack and my baby a bump in the head. The least we need is to be insulted with a white-wash of this unfortunate “wang-wang” incident.