Concerned citizens urge Philip Morris to fire executive who mauled MMDA traffic enforcer

The Inbox

By  Ellen Tordesillas, VERA Files

Concerned citizens are asking multinational cigarette company Philip Morris to fire one of its executives who was caught on video mauling a Metro Manila traffic enforcer.

The appeal is being done through an online petition initiated by University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera and concerned citizen Malou Tiquia. The petition was given the title "Robert Blair Carabuena is Bad for your Corporate Health."

"Whether it (Philip Morris) likes it or not, ROBERT BLAIR CARABUENA has now also become the poster boy of Philip Morris International. His behavior is a disservice to the corporate image of PMI and the global goodwill it has earned all these years. We call on PMIU to immediately act on this unforgiveable incident and accordingly fire him," the petition said.

Carabuena was caught on video by a TV5 camera crew berating and manhandling MMDA traffic enforcer, Saturnino Fabros, who was directing traffic at Capitol Hills Drive corner Tandang Sora in Quezon City last Saturday.

This video has created a firestorm in the regular and social media with many calling for immediate action against Carabuena.

"We do not know the reason/s that agitated him to confront the traffic enforcer. But whatever the reason, this behavior is inexcusable and must never be condoned by a globally recognized company that counts among its values emotional intelligence," the petition said.

Fabros filed a criminal complaint Wednesday at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City against Robert Blair and his brother, Benjamin.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino,   demanded a  public apology  from  Carabuena, "not only for Mr. Fabros, but for the entire Authority, which he unjustly and intentionally offended."

"We at the MMDA condemn to the highest degree the physical assault perpetrated by an abusive and violent motorist on our hapless traffic enforcer who was just enforcing traffic laws," Tolentino said, adding that the mauling defamed not only the person of Fabros but also him as MMDA chief executive and the whole government agency.

Tolentino also said, "All support will be given to Mr. Fabros in his search for justice in the proper court."

In a statement, Philip Morris said, " Carabuena was on his personal time and was not doing any work in behalf of the company when the incident took place."

"While the complete facts surrounding the incident are not yet clear to make a full appreciation of the situation, the company would obviously not condone inappropriate conduct by any of our employees," the statement said.

Philip Morris also said,"We understand the matter is being investigated by the authorities and we will monitor developments closely."

The petition noted  the claim of  Philip Morris International Inc. in its  Company Overview that their "employees are one of our greatest strengths" and that its global workforce of some 78,000 employees that hail from all over the world "are highly motivated, talented and united" in company goals.

PMI also claims, the petition said,  that its employees are its "foundation" and that it looks for people "who share our unique values," which among others, include emotional intelligence because "our behaviour and moods affect others" and being "emotionally perceptive to the feelings of others" and "having the sensitivity to influence the moods" of others in a positive way.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")