Thursday, August 16, 2012

MMDA files assault raps vs motorist


MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday filed a criminal complaint before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office against a Philip Morris executive who assaulted a traffic enforcer in Quezon City last Saturday.

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino directed the agency’s legal service to file direct assault charges against Robert Blair Carabuena, Philip Morris recruitment officer, on behalf of traffic constable Saturnino Fabros.

“We cannot allow this aggression and shameless attack against our men who are only doing their job as best as they can, regardless of the risks they face in the streets everyday,” he said.

Tolentino said that the assault on Fabros is also an attack against the MMDA and demanded that Carabuena issue a public apology.

“We at the MMDA condemn to the highest degree the physical assault perpetrated by an abusive and violent motorist on our hapless traffic enforcer who was just enforcing traffic laws,” he said.

“This, I believe, is the last thing the MMDA can afford. It defames the person of Mr. Saturnino Fabros, the undersigned as chief executive of the office, as well as the MMDA,” Tolentino said, emphasizing that Fabros was just doing his job dutifully as a traffic enforcer.

He gave assurance that all support will be given by the agency to Fabros “in his search for justice in the proper court.”

Carabuena was caught on video slapping Fabros several times over a traffic violation.

Fabros said he had tried to apprehend Carabuena, who ignored the stop signal at the corner of Capitol Hills Drive and Tandang Sora Avenue in Quezon City.

Tolentino said he will also ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel Carabuena’s driver’s license as “abusive and arrogant motorists like him, who obviously do not have serious regard for the rule of law, have no right to be in the road in the first place.”

MMDA Traffic Division chief Yves Gonzalez said the agency will also include Carabuena’s younger brother as accomplice. He said the person seen restraining Fabros was identified as Benjamin Carabuena.

He added that the agency will give Fabros a commendation this week as acknowledgment for his dedication to duty.

Gonzalez cited the fact that Fabros has been with the MMDA for the past 20 years with no bad record.

“The whole agency is totally behind Fabros in this case because as chairman Tolentino said, it was not only Fabros who was abused but the entire MMDA. So we will not tolerate this affront to us,” he said.

Ideal father

In an interview with dzBB, Fabros said Tolentino assured him of the agency’s full support in his legal action against Carabuena.

“Sabi po ni chairman Tolentino, huwag ka papa-areglo. Kami bahala sa iyo (Don’t settle, we’ll take care of you),” he said.

Fabros, a widower with six children, vowed that he will not agree to an amicable settlement and concurred with the suggestion that the government suspend permanently Carabuena’s driver’s license as part of penalty.

Fabros recalled that Carabuena was aided by a man, who turned out to be his brother, during the incident.

“Ang laki-laki po ng katawan nila kaya hindi ako maka-usog para makaiwas sa bigwas nya (They were so well built that I couldn’t get out of their grip),” he said.

Fabros would learn later that the father and mother of Carabuena were with them inside their car.

The father of Carabuena, Fabros said, came out of the car and told him just to let the incident pass. He said he told the elder Carabuena he was the aggrieved party. After the incident, Fabros went to the MMDA office and reported it.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said the Firearms and Explosive Office confirmed that a firearm of still unknown caliber was registered under the name of “Robert Carabuena.”

“Once we have validated all that was being alleged, the PNP can review or assess that matter and has the power to revoke the same,” said PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Generoso Cerbo Jr.

Some observers said Carabauena’s actuation – which indicated a short temper – appeared not to be fit for a person possessing a firearm.

Philip Morris: We will not condone

Philip Morris said they were aware of the incident but “could not yet make a clear appreciation of the situation.”

The company said they will monitor the developments and “would obviously not condone inappropriate conduct by our employee.”

“Mr. Carabuena was on his personal time and was not doing any work in behalf of the company when the incident took place,” Philip Morris said in a statement.

Under the Revised Penal Code, direct assault is charged to any person who shall attack, employ force, or seriously intimidate or resist any person in authority or any of his agents, while engaged in the performance of official duties. Direct assault is punishable by a prison term of six months to six years.

Palace up in arms

Meanwhile, MalacaƱang expressed full support for the filing of charges against Carabuena.

“That is an unacceptable behavior from the motorist. One who is seeking to enforce the traffic laws should not deserve a manhandling or an assault by an ordinary citizen. What was shown during the video was clearly an outraged motorist who does not deserve the courtesy… and we support the MMDA when they are set to file charges… we support their action against this arrogant motorist,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

He also commended the vigilance of citizens who actively seek accountability from individuals in both the public and private sectors.

“When people seek out and denounce the abusive, we see our citizens taking an active part in the President’s drive against the ‘wang-wang mentality.’ This is a convergence that directly links individuals, through social and traditional media, to broader efforts to achieve social change, by bringing to light any possible wrongdoing,” Lacierda said.


No comments:

Post a Comment