Tobacco giant Philip Morris has suspended their human resource manager Robert Blair Carabuena for slapping, berating, and bullying Saturnino Fabros, a Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcer last Saturday, according to recent reports.
In a statement posted at Interaksyon.com, the company said: “The Metro Manila Development Authority has announced that it will file charges against Robert Blair Carabuena, an employee of PMFTC [Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp.], over an incident with a traffic enforcer that took place on Saturday, August 11. Mr. Carabuena was on his personal time and not on duty for the company at the time.”
And because of this, the company has decided to suspend Carabuena “pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Further they reiterated in the statement that PMFTC “does not condone inappropriate conduct by any of our employees.”
Said altercation between the motorist and traffic enforcer was caught on tape by TV5 and was aired on T3. Later, it has spread over the internet until it finally caught the attention of MMDA and Malacanang officials.
In the video, Carabuena slapped Fabros several times after the latter tried to apprehend him over a traffic violation. Fabros said in an interview that Carabuena, who was driving a green Volvo car, beat the signal to stop at the corner of Capitol Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.
In the video interview he said, “Nagpa-go ako kanina, sila naman dumiretso. Tapos nung sinabihan ko bakit sila dumiretso, sila pa nagalit, yun na, bumaba na sila, sinapak na ako.”
Fabros recalled that he never hit nor shouted at Carabuena, he may have only tapped the motorist’s car.
Carabuena was with his brother, Robert Benjamin, when the incident happened. Robert Benjamin will also be charged for holding Fabro’s back while his brother hit the traffic enforcer.
But Carabuena is not only facing direct assault charges from the MMDA, his driver’s license might also be cancelled by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as requested by MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, who said that, “We cannot allow this aggression and shameless attack against our men who are only doing their job as best as they can, regardless of the risks they face in the streets every day.”
Direct assault charges are punishable by six months to six years in prison, as stated in the Revised Penal Code.
Carabuena has also been asked by Tolentino to issue a public apology. Tolentino said that the assault is also an attack against the traffic enforcement agency.
The 47-year-old Fabros has been in the service for 27 years. He is a father to four children.
Carabuena, on the other hand, was said to be a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University.