Tobacco firm behind smoking ban complaint?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 17 2011 12:40 AM | Updated as of Aug 17 2011 06:41 PM

MANILA, Philippines – One of the complainants of the smoking ban imposed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has claimed that a tobacco company is behind the court petition.

The complainant, who refused to be identified, claimed he used to work for the tobacco company that paid the P100,000 bond for the case.

“Hindi ko naman siya kaya bayaran kasi minimum wage lang naman ako. Bale ang nagkakaugnayan diyan, attorney lang,” he said.

According to the complainant, it was part of a plan for him to be deliberately apprehended on July 13 in Cubao.

“Pinatawag lang kami bigla. Tapos para ituro sa amin ang subject kung ano ang gagawin,” he said.

Below is the transcript of the complainant’s exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News:

ABS-CBN: Magkano ang ipinangakong ibabayad sa inyo?
Complainant: Wala naman sinabi.
ABS-CBN: Sinabi babayaran kayo?
Complainant: Ganun ang pagkakaalam namin.
ABS-CBN: Planted ba iyong magpapahuli kayo?
Complainant: Ganun na nga.
ABS-CBN: Anong ganun na nga?
Complainant: Ganun na nga, planado.

The complainant’s lawyer, meanwhile, said it was the client who approached him.

The lawyer said a statement will be released Wednesday.

The complainant is one of the petitioners who claimed that the ban is beyond what the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 covers.

The petition has prompted Mandaluyong Judge Carlos Valenzuela to issue a 20-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the enforcement of the no-smoking policy on roads in Metro Manila .

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino called the TRO, which only covers sidewalks and public thoroughfares, a “temporary setback.” -- Report from Gretchen Malalad, ABS-CBN News