Rama: Sacred cows

·3 min read

I am following, with an ever-increasing sense of annoyance, the story of security guard Christian Floralde, who was hit and then run over by an SUV in Mandaluyong last June 5.

I am mentioning Christian Floralde’s name at the get-go because, in a case like this, it is so easy to forget who this is all about; he whom nothing much has been written about despite the many stories published about the incident.

Nine days have passed and neither has the erring driver been apprehended, nor his offending vehicle impounded. Luckily, Christian Floralde is out of danger.

Now, I’ve been in this business long enough to recognize a sacred cow when I see one.

And, boy, I have to say that everything I’ve read thus far tells me that we’re absolutely dealing with a sacred cow here.

This person is so sacred that were the incident not caught on dashcam and uploaded on social media, we would never have known it happened.

This person is so sacred that while authorities speaking for the Philippine National Police and the Land Transportation Office have given us someone to blame, they’ve yet to give us who is responsible.

PNP Officer-in-Charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. has let known that the SUV, a Toyota RAV 4 with plate number NCO 3781, is registered to a Jose Antonio San Vicente Sr.

But PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo had also let it be known that the guy allegedly behind the wheel when security guard Christian Floralde experienced what a 17 to 19-inch tire rolling over his chest felt like was the owner’s son, Jose Jr.

And authorities don’t seem to want to investigate the incident and establish who actually was behind the wheel that fateful day Christian Floralde saw his entire life flash before his eyes.

Quantum, burden

Authorities filed a frustrated murder complaint and a separate abandonment of victim charge against Jose Sr. solely on the basis that he owned the car.

LTO Metro Manila Director Clarence Guinto is concerned, the driver is assumed to be the registered owner, while LTO chief Edgar Galvante said the LTO bases its investigations on vehicle registrations and the owner has to first prove that he was not the one driving the said vehicle.

Perhaps this is enough in an administrative investigation like the one LTO held. But the quantum of evidence necessary in a criminal case is vastly different; it’s proof beyond reasonable doubt.

And the burden of proof on something as crucial as the identity of the respondent belongs to the prosecution.

So, what am I to make of this? The contemporary equivalent of boxing’s taking a dive?

Speaking of administrative investigations, Jose Sr. was issued a June 7 show cause order that directed him to explain why his license should not be revoked.

Of course, Jose Sr. snubbed the hearing. So, the LTO, on Monday, revoked his license and “perpetually disqualified” him from driving ever again.

But, in the larger scheme of things, what is that but a mere slap on the wrist?

The administrative investigation has no bearing on the civil indemnification, actual, moral and exemplary damages owed to Christian Floralde, and criminal liability for the act of trying to finish off the hapless man by running him over in the chest with a 1.8-ton car.

Alternate reality

What would have happened if a guy like me was responsible for the injuries that Christian Floralde sustained?

The police would have chased me down, taken me into custody, and impounded my vehicle. No question.

They would have justified my warrantless arrest by claiming they conducted a “hot pursuit operation” and claim that the efforts to apprehend me were continuous and uninterrupted regardless of the amount of time that passed between the commission of the crime and the time of my arrest.

It could all be hogwash, yes, but they’d have had me in cuffs and leave all the legal sorting out of stuff to a Department of Justice prosecutor.

Anyway, between you and me, what’s a bit of low-down against unsacred cows?

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