‘Near-misses’: a new way of making a living–for cops, too?
The “near-miss” that Melissa Quiatan (“Informal settlers on ‘center island,’” Letters, 6/10/16) experienced on the road also happened not only to us but to several of our friends, too. Such things are getting so common one is led to believe they are done intentionally. Street dwellers may have found a new way of making a living: Sacrifice small children for small injuries and then collect big in “damages.”
In our case, we were taking a shortcut one morning through a crowded road in an area that looked like a “baby factory.” We were forced to take that turn because our usual route was hopelessly clogged with vehicles slowing down to a crawl. It was also tight but moving just a little bit faster. No, we didn’t bump any child—a child bumped us. He was running from the sidewalk with his face turned backwards and rammed his fragile body into the side of our car. He fell down and blood was flowing from a cut on his head. His mother came out screaming murder and blamed us like crazy. Funny thing is, had we gone a tad slower, we would have hit the little boy head-on.
All told, we wound up at a police precinct where we were urged to just settle the matter amicably or face the prospect of being the one sued. The “investigator” considered us “suspects” already. Our story meant nothing to him. He told us that in cases like that, it is best to leave it to the court to decide who was at fault. We were getting nowhere with the common-sense argument: See the dent on the side of our car? And what about child neglect against the mother? The look on his face said it all: Yeah, right… after hours of haggling, we went to the nearest ATM to withdraw P15,000 to shut the mother up.
Were the neighborhood policemen in on that racket? You bet! We are not sure how much their cut (pun intended) was, but it was pretty obvious their lunch was already paid for and then some. This is typical Third World country law enforcement. Extortion is SOP. Heaven help us! SOS to Duterte.
—GRACE PO-QUICHO,[email protected]
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