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Traffic cops alerted on selfies.

Byline: Julie M. Aurelio

MANILA -- Traffic cops, be warned: Don't fall for motorists carrying selfie photos showing them with top police officials.

After an incident in which a model had dropped the name of a high police official to escape a traffic citation, the Philippine National Police on Sunday reminded traffic enforcers not to be daunted if erring motorists flaunted calling cards or photos with police officials.

In fact, they should even arrest individuals who use such methods to avoid being cited for traffic violations, said PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Wilben Mayor.

Mayor said there was a possibility some motorists might show off their "selfie" with top cops to escape traffic citations.

A "selfie" might also be used with a business card to prove a supposed connection or affiliation with a police official.

"It's possible but this is not something that should be blamed on police officials," Mayor said.

While there is nothing wrong with police officials posing for photos with civilians, the danger lies when an individual uses the photo for his own gain.

In hot water

The PNP spokesman cited cases of establishments posting photos of their owners with top government and police officials to scare off raiding policemen.

Last week, model Alyzza Agustin found herself in hot water after she posted on Facebook a calling card of Chief Supt. Alexander Ignacio, which she supposedly used to avoid being charged with a traffic violation.

The calling card claims Agustin to be Ignacio's executive assistant.

Claim backfires

Agustin made the list of 100 sexiest women in the world in 2013 in FHM, a glossy Playboytype magazine.

Agustin's claim backfired after Ignacio denied issuing the card, saying it was not an official PNP business card and that it even carried a wrong rank for him.

Ignacio, who heads the PNP office for plans, also denied knowing the model.

In Agustin's claim in the calling card, Ignacio holds the rank of police director. In reality however, he holds the lower rank of chief superintendent.

Charges vs model

The model eventually apologized and said she did not know the police official personally. She eventually took down from Facebook the photo of the calling card.

Ignacio, who arrived on Friday from a Southeast Asian regional meeting, is poised to file charges against the model.

"I do give my business card to those who request it. But it goes with the implied condition that it will not be used to violate laws and for illegal gain," Ignacio said in a statement.

"I will not tolerate the use of my business card, the facilities of my office or the privileges of my rank for unlawful purposes," he added.

Mayor advised traffic enforcers to go after motorists who drop the names of government and police or military officials to avoid a traffic citation.

Officials will not allow themselves to be used by erring individuals to escape liabilities, he said.

"In case of doubt, law enforcers who will be confronted with a situation involving a namedropping traffic violator should simply do their job of enforcing the law," Mayor said.With Inquirer Research

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 6, 2014
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