Stupid drivers and roadside terrorism trended this year on social media


Sometimes, the truth is more terrifying than fiction. With today’s worsening traffic, even the most mild-mannered motorist can turn into a roadside terrorist once behind the wheel. There is that all too familiar feeling of anger when someone cuts you off or the irritating sound of horns honking behind you that can trigger the worst behavior in us. According to one study in the US, over half of all drivers have experienced a surge of road rage of some sort but in most cases, it is not enough to cause the motorist to pull out a weapon or ram their vehicles to the next car. But what’s worse, road rage suspects always come with road rage victims.

Here’s a compilation of this year’s news that trended on social media that was also reported by Inquirer motoring.

Drunk driver allowed to post bail, explained his panic

The Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office has recommended bail of P30,000 for the release of a drunk driver who tried to flee after ramming his vehicle into a UV Express van on Commonwealth Avenue last November 21st. Niño San Gabriel was captured after the police fired at his tires during a chase in which he rammed into the passenger van twice and ran over two motorcycles whose riders tried to block his path.

Aside from reckless imprudence resulting in multiple damages to property, the other cases against him included drunk driving, resistance and disobedience to persons of authority, grave threat and unlawful discharge of firearm. Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, the police district director, said the police would pursue the cases against San Gabriel. Although he admitted that he was drunk when he was driving, San Gabriel claimed that he got frightened because he once experienced an ambush, apparently referring to an ambush in Bulacan province in 2015. According to media reports, men on motorbikes fired at him and his companion, Jezyriel Beturin, who was killed in the attack.

Beauty queen’s license revoked after posting on social media using ASEAN lane

On the eve of November 11th, beauty queen-actress Maria Isabel Lopez posted on social media that she used the designated lane for Asean Summit VIPs and delegates on EDSA. After seeing the video online, the MMDA and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) recommended to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) the “suspension or cancellation” of Lopez’s license. She quickly then apologized and said she was “only human” after authorities and netizens criticized her for using the lane. She reportedly removed a barrier that allowed her to enter the lane to breeze through traffic claiming traffic enforcer of the MMDA gave her and several motorists permission to use the Asean lane.
Lopez complained of being singled out because of her Facebook post which had garnered over 11,000 reactions, mostly negative, and shared almost 10,000 times. “Asean lane, here I come! Be like Maria!” she said in one video. While thousands of motorists were stuck for hours in heavy traffic because of the arrival of Asean delegates, Lopez bragged on her social media accounts about her usage of the Asean lane.

In a five-page decision signed by LTO chief Edgar Galvante, the agency revoked Lopez’s license for two years following her unauthorized use of the Asean lane. “I will pay the penalty. Hire a driver. There’s [always] Grab and Uber! For the record, no one was ‘killed.’ When a door closes, a roof deck opens. Life goes on … I’ll continue living a productive life. #feelingblessed,” she said. The order came nearly two weeks after the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) filed a complaint in the LTO, asking for Lopez’s license to be “permanently revoked.”

For Galvante, the excuses Lopez made were lame and merely self-serving. “Worse, she showed no remorse and even publicized with gusto her improper and illegal acts on social media, which betray her utter lack of sense of responsibility as a licensed driver, thus making her an improper person to operate a motor vehicle,” he said in his LTO order.

Good Samaritan Grab driver shot by lone carjacker

A Grab driver who went viral months ago for helping out a sick passenger was killed by a gunman who pretended to be a passenger, bringing with him the car’s victim on his escape. Gerardo Maquidato Jr., lauded by Grab as one of its “best drivers,” was shot dead on Bonanza Street, Don Carlos Village, Pasay City on the eve of October 26 by a lone assailant. The suspect, Narc Tulod Delemios, also known as Miko and Nikolo, surrendered at the Pasay City Police Station last November 7th,according to Supt. Gene Licud, the city’s police assistant chief of police for operations. The police were able to identify the suspect after his live-in partner, Giselle, coordinated with the authorities after hearing about the shooting on social media.

In October last year, Maquidato was recognized as one of its best drivers after he gave a free ride to a sick passenger. On her Facebook post, Divine Lactao Ornum said she booked a GrabCar for her sister Prima, who was on her way to Quezon City from Pasay to pick up bags of blood for her dialysis. Maquidato did not ask for any payment for the trip. The post went viral and the Grab driver was praised by more than 100,000 people. On Aug. 22 last year, Prima died of complications due to diabetes. But Maquidato’s kindness for the Ornum family was not forgotten.

MRT spare part bought from Bangkal auto repair shop

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on September 29th that the government cannot pay a maintenance contractor of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 because of a number of irregularities. DOTr Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said maintenance contractor Busan Universal Rail Inc. (Buri) was billing the government P4 million for uncertified equipment.

Chavez said in a statement that the DOTR would be remiss in its duties and would be violating many laws if it paid Buri, for the 17-kilometer line. Buri is demanding reimbursement for its purchase of a P4-million vehicle logic unit (VLU), a highly specialized equipment that functions as the train’s automatic protection system, made by Canadian multinational Bombardier. “But Bombardier claimed that no such equipment had been ordered from them,” Chavez said.

Chavez said the DOTr discovered that the VLU was purchased from an undercapitalized shop, called Diamond Pearl, in Bangkal, Makati’s automotive repair row. Chavez further added that one of Diamond Pearl’s incorporators was Marlo dela Cruz, whom lawmakers blamed for the malfunctions plaguing MRT 3. In a House hearing, Rep. Jericho Nograles tagged Dela Cruz as one of the people who allegedly tried to extort $30 million from Czech train maker Inekon.

Uber pays a record P190-M fine

After being off the road for 15 days, Uber resumed serving passengers again following the lifting of its suspension by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB). LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said the 36,000 drivers nationwide of the transportation network company (TNC) could resume its operations after Uber paid a P190-million fine and after the LTFRB had verified that its drivers had indeed received the financial assistance due them.

Apart from the P190-million fine, it also shelled out P299.24 million in assistance to its drivers during the 15 days it was suspended. Uber was supposed to serve a month-long suspension, ending on Sept. 15, for defying the LTFRB’s order not to accept and accredit new drivers into its platform. It offered to instead pay a P10-million fine.

The LTFRB agreed to convert Uber’s penalty into a fine, but noted that this should be “commensurate to the penalty of suspension.” The LTFRB arrived at P190-million fine based on the number of days that Uber should be suspended “in relation to the daily average income” of the TNC, which is from P7 million to P10 million.

ADDA law banning rosaries from vehicles causes furor on social media

Rosaries and religious icons hanging from dashboards were initially banned if they block a driver’s line of sight, a restriction that has drawn protest from a Catholic priest, a group of jeepney drivers and even senators. The items can still be placed on the rearview mirror, however, as long as these are coiled up so they don’t swing around, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). The confusion following the implementation on May 19th of the Anti Distracted Driving Act (ADDA), which focused on the use of communication devices and other electronic gadgets while driving, extended to religious items on dashboards.

The executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ permanent committee on public affairs Fr. Jerome Secillano said he did not agree with the LTFRB ban on rosaries and religious statuettes in cars. “The LTFRB is absolutely missing the point by prohibiting the display of small religious images in cars,” said Secillano, Secillano pointed out that it was not the rosaries that caused accidents on the road, but mechanical problems and the drivers’ ignorance and abusive behavior on the road.

Piston, an association of jeepney drivers and owners, said no data showed that rosaries and religious trinkets caused accidents. “Do not meddle with the drivers’ faith in God,” said its president, George San Mateo. Aileen Lizada, an LTFRB board member, said religious items, such as rosaries, should not be in the line of sight of a motorist.

Lizada said an earlier traffic regulation, Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01, prohibited drivers from having unauthorized accessories on dashboards or windshields. The Senate also reacted and decided to look into the controversial implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti Distracted Driving Act. Senators described as “overacting” and “excessive”, referring to the IRR interpretation of the intent of the law. They were particularly aghast that rosaries and car air fresheners were among those prohibited. Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III stood up on the floor to slam the IRR and to ask the committee on public services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe to review the rules. Sotto joined Sen. JV Ejercito in calling on the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to suspend the implementation of the law pending the review. Senators Nancy Binay and Richard Gordon sought a review of the IRR as they did not believe that rosaries should be prohibited. Gordon said the IRR was the “most abused thing in the country” because it tended to change the law. The LTFRB eventually relented and clarified that accessories such as rosaries, figurines, dashboard toys, crucifix, and stickers will be allowed in the revised IRR.

Road rage suspect identified as scion as one of Cebu’s wealthiest families and namesake father involved in fatal road accident on the same month

A nurse suffered two gunshot wounds in the leg after he was shot by a then unidentified gunman during a traffic altercation on F. Sotto Street, Cebu City at about 3 a.m. on March 19th. The victim, Ephraim Nuñal, was brought to private hospital for treatment as the police worked to identify the perpetrator, who fled with a female companion on board a dark-colored Mercedes Benz with plate number UNI 731. A video taken by a motorist showed a man with a gun confronting the victim, who had also gotten out of his car.

The suspect turned out to be David Lim Jr. and his family was said to have offered a cash reward to anyone who could present a full video of the road rage incident. Their lawyer Orlando Salatandre Jr. said they are particularly looking for the dash board camera which captured the incident involving David Jr. and Nuñal. The camp of David Jr. claimed that the video footage of the road rage that was uploaded in social media and used by the police investigation was cut and showed only the parts that would incriminate the respondent. The owner of the dash board video is one of the two witnesses who positively identified David Jr. as the same person who shot and wounded Nuñal following a traffic altercation.

Assistant Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño found probable cause to charge David, Jr. scion of one of the wealthiest families in Cebu, with frustrated homicide and illegal possession of ammunition at the Regional Trial Court and set the bail at P120,000 and P24,000, respectively. The charges were downgraded to frustrated homicide since no proof was shown to support the claim Lim was treacherous in shooting Nuñal in the left thigh and right ankle.

A couple of weeks earlier, a fish dealer was killed after the motorcycle he drove crashed into a sports car driven by David Jr.’s father, David Lim, Sr. the younger brother of Cebu businessman Peter Lim. Philip Pogoy, 26, and a resident of Mandaue City, was rushed to the Cebu City Medical Center along Natalio Bacalso Avenue here but did not make it. Police investigation showed that Pogoy was traversing on the Banilad-Talamban flyover when he was hit by the Nissan sports car driven by David Go Lim Sr. who was on the separate lane.

The elder David is a known car racer and his eldest is Peter who has been thrust into the limelight after President Rodrigo Duterte named one Peter Lim as one of the biggest drug lords in the country, although he has denied that he was the Peter Lim referred to by the President.

Murder raps filed on’poker high roller” in road rage incident

Last February, Anthony Mendoza was shot dead at the corner of D. Tuazon Street and Quezon Avenue in Quezon City by the driver of a Toyota Land Cruiser, which the police later identified the alleged gunman as 45-year-old Fredison Atienza. The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, described Atienza as a “high roller poker player,” based on information found online. Mendoza was driving a motorcycle with his brother Michael as his backrider when he got into an argument with Atienza. Their heated exchange ended with the suspect pulling out a gun and shooting Anthony in the head.

Anthony, a 27-year-old information technology professional who was all set to marry his longtime girlfriend next year, died on the spot. The QCPD said it was able to identify Atienza following some confusion about the Land Cruiser’s plate license. Witnesses earlier told the police that the SUV being driven by the gunman had the license plate AHA 3458. When a check with the Land Transportation Office showed that the plate had been issued to a Toyota Avanza, authorities re-examining the footage taken by other closed circuit television cameras in the area.

One camera later showed Anthony’s motorcycle and the Land Cruiser on E. Rodriguez Avenue minutes before the shooting. It also showed the SUV’s license plate AHA 3458. The vehicle was found to be registered to Hazel Joyce Atienza of Grace Village, Quezon City. Eleazar also said they discovered two handguns registered in Atienza’s name, a .45-cal. STI and a Glock 9mm had expired licenses. Atienza is the subject of a manhunt and has not appeared in any of the preliminary court proceedings. Suspect was surrendered to the authorities

More than half of Filipino drivers are stupid, says Senator

More than half of Filipino drivers will fail an honest-to-goodness driver’s examination, according to Sen. Vicente Sotto III because he thinks they are stupid. “Here in the Philippines, if we give drivers an honest-to-goodness examination like those required in other countries, especially the United States, I expect more than 50 percent will not pass,” Sotto said during a hearing on road safety called by the Senate committee on public services last March.

“Terrible. They are not only reckless but they are also stupid, that’s why they will surely fail,” he said. “In a real examination, 50 percent of drivers in the Philippines will fail,” he said, without explaining the sudden reduction in his estimate. Filipino drivers who do not follow traffic rules contribute to the worsening congestion on the country’s roads, said Sotto, who drives his own car. He lamented the parking of cars along city streets, which aggravates the congestion, especially in Metro Manila.

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September 19, 2018

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