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What is the 5-minute rule on illegally parked vehicles

What is the five-minute rule repeatedly cited in the now viral and lengthy confrontation between Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) personnel and a lawyer couple? And when exactly do you start counting the five minutes?

Citing MMDA Special Operations Group head Bong Nebrija, News To Go anchor Kara David explained the rule applies to unoccupied illegally parked vehicles.

When an illegally parked car has no occupants, enforcers are mandated to sound their car horns to call on the car's driver to fix its parking.

The car will be towed if the driver, who will be ticketed for the parking violation, fails to show up five minutes after the MMDA sounded its horn.

At a press conference on Wednesday, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia further explained the rule, "Iyong 5-minute rule, pinagbigyan na nga natin sila. Dapat [talaga] 'pag illegal parking, tow kaagad iyan."

"[Ngayon] may 5 minute rule [na] po ang MMDA. Ibig sabihin 'pag dating nila, 5 minutes pagdating ng MMDA, hindi 5 minutes nang malaman mo... pagdating sa area niyan, bubusina iyan, ooras ng 5 minutes," he added.

He continued: "Kapag 'di dumating ang driver, ito-tow na iyan."

In case the driver shows up within the five-minute allowance, the vehicle will no longer be towed but the driver is still not yet off the hook as he or she will still have to be issued with a traffic ticket.

"Kapag dumating naman, kailangan tiketan mo kasi illegal parking. Hindi ibig sabihin 5 minute-rule 'pag dumating ka, hindi ka na titiketan kasi bawal 'yong ginawa niya," he said.

The driver will then be ordered to park their car in legal parking areas.

In the viral video that was posted on Gadget Addict on Tuesday, a driver, who was later identified as a public prosecutor from the Department of Justice main office in Manila, could be seen insisting that the five-minute rule should only start the moment she learns about the MMDA calling her attention.

The MMDA, however, insisted she had misunderstood the five-minute rule, saying that the count starts the moment the MMDA arrived at the area and starts sounding the alarm. 

The woman ended up publicly apologizing to the MMDA, but the latter said it was still determined to push through with the charges it had filed against her. — Rie Takumi/MDM/AT, GMA News