Monday, July 09, 2007

Part 2 of "Broken and in Pieces" in Angeles City

This is the second installment about my best friend and how he deals with the aftermath of an accident (see 1st post on it) that was in no way his fault. His only crime: being a foreigner in the Philippines, specifically here in AC.

It’s happening already, and he knew it would when the cops came by the hospital after the accident to confiscate his driver’s license.

My friend’s ace in the hole, his buddy who stood right there and witnessed the entire event, was told by the police at the hospital as they took the license that "he didn’t see anything." Get that? The cops are TELLING the only real witness that he didn’t see a thing! Do you see how it works here?

What the police did directly after the accident was to do a “drive by” in one of their white SUVs. If they did an investigation it was much later after my victim-friend and his witness-buddy were long gone to the hospital. What is happening now is classic for this area. A story is being concocted to show that the entire thing is the foreigner’s fault. Ba-a-a-a-a-a! Moooooo! They look at us as sheep to be sheared and cows to be milked.

Locals are lining up for a pay off even as I write this. My buddy is about to contact a lawyer. Of course, he’ll have to hope that the lawyer he gets doesn’t go into collusion with his opponents; also a very common practice on the continuation of the theme of bilking and conning expatriates living in this country.

So, here’s how it works when you are a foreigner living in the Philippines, especially in Angeles City: Become involved in an accident, even if you are the one victimized in the accident, and you continue to become victimized in the legal aftermath. Sometimes it’s better just not to leave the house.

I have several friends who refuse to drive a car or motorbike or anything because of this nasty local tendency. I have named the phenomena; as I hint above, I call it “shear the foreigner.”

I stopped riding jeepneys because of being pick-pocketed and almost being mugged on them once (my wife saw what was happening and screamed at the driver to let us off, which we did in a rush). The ubiquitous trikes, the other transportation alternative in Angeles City, even if you are a Filipino, climb into one and the price to anywhere starts at 50 pesos. AC may well have the highest trike prices of anywhere in the country. I’ve visited other provinces and the costs were a fraction of this place. Once again, it’s all part of the “shearing process.”

My broken legged buddy did have one bright bit of news. His orthopedic surgeon, who seems to be very competent, helped him find a hospital that will accept him under the old Tri-Care policy, where they are not asking for money down and will work with him payment wise. We’ll see how that works out.

I was pleased just now to speak to him and heard a lot less pain in his voice. It’s been three days since he splintered his lower leg bone and the reconstructive surgery should take place sometime in the next couple of days.

Keep checking in to track how this whole thing plays out medically and legally. In fact here's part 3 and it's far worse than we imagined...

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