What Were You Thinking?: Episode 2 - The HPG Escort Flex Gone Wrong

When I wrote a blog a few days ago about a graduating student who donned a Nazi uniform with a Sieg Heil salute for his graduation photo, I thought that was the peak of questionable decisions shared online. But today, as I read the news about a woman flaunting her husband's arrangement of an HPG escort, I realized the well of bewildering social media posts runs much deeper. So, welcome to Episode 2 of What Were You Thinking? 

The Philippine Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has long been tangled in controversies surrounding its officers being hired out as private escorts for the elite. While escorting a politician, a businessman, or even a foreigner through traffic is not officially part of their mandate, some HPG officers reportedly engage in this practice as a way to supplement their income. This unofficial side hustle, however, has fueled accusations of unethical and unprofessional conduct, undermining the public's trust in the HPG's commitment to serving all citizens equally and raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.

In the midst of this ongoing controversy, a woman recently took to social media to boast about her husband's "sweet effort" in arranging an HPG escort for her, seemingly oblivious to the ongoing scandals and ethical questions surrounding such practices. The caption read: "How can I settle for less when my husband hired an HPG escort para lang hindi ako ma-traffic sa pupuntahan ko? (plus, I have my own driver and car)," wrote the woman. The post sparked outrage among netizens, who criticized the woman for flaunting privilege and misusing law enforcement resources.

Perhaps it was a misguided attempt at humor, or a naive display of wealth and privilege. Regardless of her intent, the post reflects a troubling disconnect between the woman's perception of the situation and the broader public's concerns about fairness, accountability, and the responsible use of law enforcement resources. It also highlights the dangers of social media, where a seemingly harmless brag can quickly escalate into a public relations nightmare.

The repercussions of the viral post were swift and severe. The HPG immediately launched an investigation into the incident, seeking to identify the officer involved and determine whether any laws or regulations had been violated. The woman (whose name I've intentionally omitted) eventually deleted the controversial post, dismissing critical netizens as "drama seekers." She also denied accusations of being a "kabit" (mistress), stating that she is married to the politician he called "husband" in the post. This is entirely irrelevant to the topic at hand, but it came up anyway due to Filipinos' fascination with the concept of a "kabit." But I digress.

While writing this blog post, I found myself chuckling at the term "HPG escort services." In the US, escort services are usually associated with something entirely different – something you seek when you're lonely. Funnily enough, here in the Philippines, it's apparently a status symbol for the privileged few. But that's precisely the issue, isn't it? When public servants become associated with privilege and favoritism, it erodes the trust that holds our society together.

This incident is just one example of a larger problem, leaving us with two burning questions: 

To the woman at the center of this controversy: What were you thinking? Did you truly not understand the implications of your actions, or was this a deliberate display of privilege? Are you prepared to take responsibility for the damage you've caused to the HPG's reputation? And, assuming you are indeed the husband of a politician – is it right for you to be escorted by the HPG in the first place? 

To the HPG: What concrete steps will you take to address this ongoing issue of unauthorized escorts? How will you regain the public's trust and ensure that such incidents don't happen again?

The public deserves answers, and more importantly, they deserve action. It's time for the HPG to step up and prove that they are committed to serving all citizens equally and upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

Personally, I was hoping this was just a joke post—a funny caption accompanying a photo where an HPG officer just happened to be in front of her car. It would have made sense that way. But it looks like it's not.

Acknowledgement: Cover photo borrowed from News5 - TV5


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