Uploader of viral footbridge video slams MMDA lawsuit

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The Mindanao-Congressional Avenue extension footbridge was obstructed with electric cables.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 20) — "All I hear are lies as they try to cover up their ineptness."

That's what Pio Fortuno Jr., who posted a viral video showing a Metro Manila footbridge obstructed with electric cables, said regarding the lawsuit planned against him by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The MMDA insisted even before the video was uploaded on February 14, it had closed the bridge weeks ago, and sent letters to utility companies, whose cables were entangled with a portion of the footbridge.

CNN Philippines saw caution lines in the Mindanao-Congressional Avenue extension footbridge upon checking.

Fortuno may face charges of malicious mischief, trespassing and cyber libel, as the MMDA said the uploader was trying to insinuate the agency was not doing its job.

The MMDA alleged Fortuno even removed the barriers to cross the street using the footbridge.

"Kasi ho inalis niya yung mga harang, nakita niyo tumawid [He removed the barriers, you saw him cross]. What's your intention behind that?" MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago said. "Kung meron kayong reklamo about sa [If you have complaints about the] footbridges you can directly inform and report to MMDA."

But Fortuno slammed the MMDA's claims.

"I find it amazing that MMDA said they interviewed a security guard who said he tried to stop me. That is just nuts. First of all the stairs were wide open," Fortuno told CNN Philippines. "Second, the security guards couldn't care less who go up the stairs. It's not their mandate to do so. Third, the corner where I went up, there is no establishment near there, hence no security guard."

Fortuno earlier said people in the community will testify that there were no barriers or warning tape, and claimed that other people were also crossing the footbridge.

"Instead of bending their ire on me, perhaps they should be thankful that no one got hurt, no one tripped or got electrocuted," he said Monday.

Days after the video went viral, a telecommunications company subcontracting began clearing and realigning cables. A worker claimed that the wires have been installed years ago, and the MMDA had just constructed a bridge through it.

"Hindi sila nakipagcoordinate e, dapat naibaba na 'yan e. Hindi sila nagpaabiso sa'min na gagawa sila dito," Reynaldo Blanco, a head crew, said.

[Translation:They didn't coordinate with us, it should have been taken down. They didn't warn us that they will place the footbridge here.]

CNN Philippines Correspondent Carolyn Bonquin contributed to this report.