MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III showed up late at the turnover rites of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership at Camp Aguinaldo after refusing to use his blinkers and sirens to evade Friday morning traffic on EDSA.
The turnover rites at Camp Aguinaldo were supposed to start at 10 a.m., but it was delayed for at least 30 minutes because President Aquino's convoy had to go with the snail-paced flow of traffic at the EDSA-Cubao area.
At 10:20 a.m., the presidential convoy was still in Cubao area. It arrived in Camp Aguinaldo around 10:30 a.m..
A radio dzMM report said President Aquino's white sport utility vehicle (SUV) with plate No. 1 moved silently and slowly just like an ordinary private vehicle.
The convoy came from Aquino's Times Street residence near Quezon Avenue in Quezon City, where the presidential limousine used by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was parked.
President Aquino has also refused to use the presidential limousine, saying he is more used to riding his own SUV.
At past 10:40 a.m., the turnover rites started at Camp Aguinaldo.
President Aquino led the turnover of the military leadership to Lt. Gen. Ricardo David, former commander of the AFP's Northern Luzon Command.
David took over the command from Lt. Gen. Nestor Ochoa, who took over the AFP leadership from retired Gen. Delfin Bangit in an acting capacity.
Bangit decided to retire early from the military after President Aquino refused to extend his term as AFP chief.
Colorum, out-of-line buses
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Roberto Nacianceno told radio dzMM in an interview that traffic is usually tight along EDSA in the morning because of colorum and out-of-line buses.
Nacianceno promised that by next week, the MMDA will start a no-nonsense crackdown on colorum and out-of-line buses to ease traffic on EDSA.
Taking the cue of President Aquino, the Philippine National Police on Thursday started a nationwide crackdown on vehicles using blinkers and sirens.
President Aquino has promised to ban public officials from using blaring sirens just to get through heavy traffic. – Reports from Dennis Datu, radio dzMM and Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News