I was on my way to the office today when the bus I was riding was stopped by a group of men along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. They were unarmed but you could immediately tell that they were up to no good.
True enough after that encounter the bus driver and conductor were P200 poorer. Sounds like highway robbery, doesn’t it?
The group we encountered was running an anti-smoke belching operation so they had every authority to flag us down. But instead of carrying out what they were mandated to do they turned their whole operation into a money-making scheme.
I know money changed hands because I saw it as it happened. I was sitting at the front row and as I peered through the window I saw the bus conductor giving P200 to one of the team members.
It was quite a funny sight actually. The man who flagged us down was acting all indignant because the bus driver, who remained glued to his seat, refused to hand over his vehicle registration. So he went on to admonish the bus driver. But as he was delivering his sermon he was also stealthily reaching out for the conductor’s hand, which held two tightly folded P100 bills.
What a funny charade I thought. It was really funny I failed to stop myself from laughing and blurting out, “ayos na, merienda na.” The clown even heard what I said. As he walked away he flashed me a toothless smile not even his own mother would appreciate.
Now, I’m left wondering again if calls for personal change would even work on people like these.