Road rage triggers online rage

The Inbox


By Ellen Tordesillas

Nobody enjoys a lopsided fight.

TV5 Interaksyon's profile story of MMDA traffic enforcer Saturnino Fabros explains the online rage that the video of the incident generated compelling the multinational company Philip Morris to suspend its offending Human Resource officer.

Interaksyon wrote: " Robert Blair Carabuena, tobacco firm executive caught on video mauling an MMDA traffic enforcer, could not have picked a more pitiful underdog to assault on national television."

It was a revolting picture: an arrogant, plump,Volvo-driving, Ateneo-educated, multinational company executive berating and mauling a hapless traffic enforcer whose physique is typical of people of Payatas, where he lives and raises singlehandly six children on an P8,000 monthly salary.

An online commenter,Josef De Guzman, expressed the feeling of many when he wrote: "Tuwing makikita ko ang mamang ito, naaalala ko ang anim na anak nya na mag-isa nyang itinataguyod sa Payatas. "

De Guzman addressed Fabros: "Hindi mo kasalanan na namatay ang asawa mo at di mo kasalanan na naging mahirap ka. Walang karapatan ang sinuman na yurakan at lapastanganin ang iyong dangal bilang tao! Magpakatatag po kayo Sir!"

When a reporter asked Fabros Wednesday why he was not yet in court where he was expected to file charges against Carabuena with the help of his office, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the traffic enforcer replied,"Sandali lamang po at pinagluluto ko lang po ng tanghalian ang aking pamilya."

It was learned that Fabros asked for an afternoon duty because he had to cook, do the laundry and bring his youngest daughter to school before going to work.

It looks like he has taught his children the right values because when one of the daughters was asked about the incident, she replied in between tears that she was proud of her father "dahil siya ay nagtimpi dahil kami ang kanyang ini-isip."

Fabros should be re-assured by the support of MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino who demanded a public apology from Carabuena, "not only for Mr. Fabros, but for the entire Authority, which he unjustly and intentionally offended."

As of yesterday, no report about a public apology from Carabuena who, together with his brother Benjamin, now faces a criminal complaint filed with the Quezon City Prosecutor's office.

If convicted of a crime of direct assault, Carabuena could be imprisoned from six months and one day to six years .

Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation yesterday said that they were suspending Carabuena "pending the outcome of the investigation."

The PMFTC , in a statement said: "The Metro Manila Development Authority has announced that it will file charges against Robert Blair Carabuena, an employee of PMFTC, over an incident with a traffic enforcer that took place on Saturday, August 11.

"PMFTC has suspended Mr. Carabuena pending the outcome of the investigation.

"Mr. Carabuena was on his personal time and not on duty for the company at the time. PMFTC reiterates that it does not condone inappropriate conduct by any of our employees."

The suspension is short of the petition of concerned citizens led by University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera and communications expert Malou Tiquia asking the tobacco company to fire Carabuena.

In an online petition titled "Robert Blair Carabuena is Bad for your Corporate Health," the signatories said "Whether it (Philip Morris) likes it or not, Robert Blair Carabuena has now also become the poster boy of Philip Morris International. His behavior is a disservice to the corporate image of PMI and the global goodwill it has earned all these years. We call on PMIU to immediately act on this unforgiveable incident and accordingly fire him."

Although Carabuena has a few defenders online, an overwhelming majority condemned his mauling of Fabros. Blogger Dan said, "Sana ang natapatan mo kagaya ni Rolito Go at Jason Ivler!"

It will be recalled that Ivler and Go are both in prison due to killings precipitated by road rage.

Speaking of Go, the family of the slain Eldon Maguan is not buying his abduction tale.

"The family does not believe the claims of convicted killer Rolito Go that he was abducted, then suddenly released. It is very much like a zarzuela that was very poorly-written. This mockery of justice should not be condoned by the authorities, " the Maguan family said in a statement.

They urged the Department of Justice to properly implement the sentence imposed on Go.

" He committed a heinous crime so he should be inside the maximum prison cell. He must be stripped of all the benefits he used to enjoy and must be treated the same way all those who committed heinous crimes are being treated.

"We have suffered long and hard over the pain of losing our brother Eldon and the ordeal of getting justice for him. This should have ended when the Supreme Court upheld the conviction. But what transpired after was a long running telenovela consisting of special treatments, parole hearings, housing privileges, minimum security and many others.

"After this second breakout, DOJ must look into Rolito Go's evasion of sentence. The family expects that after this charade, he will be made to answer for his actions."

They once again begged the government:" end our suffering. Give us justice."