ON June 5, a young security guard directing traffic in Julia Vargas Ave., Mandaluyong was rammed by a white SUV which then ran over him as he lay prostrate on the ground. The intent to kill the victim was captured on video, or at least that was how it looked in the various dash-cam footage that became viral on social media, eliciting condemnation from many Filipinos. The driver fled and for more than a week, both driver and vehicle were missing.
The security guard-victim, Christian Joseph Floralde, survived the ordeal while policemen looked like amateurs trying to locate the white SUV with license plates NCO 3781 and its driver and owner.
Angry and exasperated, PNP Officer-In-Charge Police Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr. warned the perpetrator in strong words that there will be dire consequences if he/she continuously defy the authorities' appeal to surrender or cooperate.
The operative word here is "appeal." Why would the authorities appeal? Seek him out and jail him, many people call out.
On June 15, ten days after the incident, Jose Antonio "Anton" San Vicente surrendered to General Danao at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, accompanied by his parents and a lawyer. It is obvious that the San Vicente family is what you might consider as rich.
“As far as PNP is concerned, we consider this case solved considering that we already filed the case, and the person of interest, the suspect, voluntarily gave up to clear matters at hand,” said Danao.
Police have filed charges against San Vicente that include frustrated murder and violations of the Revised Penal Code about abandoning victims of road accidents.
But the public, including outgoing Senate President Vicente Sotto III, is not yet done with this episode. Sotto slammed the PNP for not subjecting San Vicente to a chemical test based on the provisions of RA 10585 or the Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Law.
Sotto said Jose Antonio “Anton” San Vicente should have been subjected to a chemical test after he surrendered to the PNP last Wednesday.
Sotto also questioned the seemingly double standard policy of the PNP when it did not detain San Vicente after his surrender. Instead, San Vicente was allowed to go home after apologizing to his victim.
In response, the PNP said it did not arrest and detain San Vicente due to lack of legal basis -- there was no arrest warrant yet.
Section 7 of RA 10586 says drivers involved in motor vehicular accidents which result to loss of human lives or physical injuries “shall be subjected to chemical tests… to determine the presence and/or concentration of alcohol, dangerous drugs and/or similar substances in the bloodstream of body.”
If the driver refuses to undergo the mandatory tests, it would mean the confiscation and automatic revocation of his or her driver’s license, aside from other penalties based on pertinent laws.
Sotto said the chemical test should be “the five-way test of PDEA, not the regular drug test.” The five-way test of PDEA Sotto said is the “multi-drug one-step immunometric assay” that can detect all types of illegal drugs in urine samples, not just marijuana or shabu.
Now the public can just hope that Anton's lawyer is telling the truth when he assured that his client will cooperate and make himself available to the courts.