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Nothing wrong with traffic rules, implementation is the problem

/ 05:10 AM January 04, 2018

This has reference to the letter of Ramon Mayuga (“Gov’t should amend ‘absurd’ traffic rules,” 1/2/18) about the filing of charges against the Partas bus driver (News, 12/27/17) which gives the impression that police authorities don’t use their brain when it comes to cases of reckless imprudence which have become rampant.

There seems to be a ready template whenever traffic accidents result in physical injuries or death. It makes investigation look shallow and investigators stupid.

Because the jeepney driver died with his hapless passengers, police authorities just proceeded to file charges against the Partas bus driver who was clearly NOT at fault.

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It was the crazy jeepney driver who maneuvered a counter-flow and, at great speed, rammed his jeepney right smack into the bus coming from the opposite direction. The detained Partas driver was lucky to have an influential employer or bus company owner whose lawyers promptly procured his release from arbitrary detention pending further investigation and determination of who was actually at fault and should be the one charged.

Such mindset or ineptitude prevails not only among police authorities too lazy to do proper investigation but also among fiscals (now called public prosecutors).

In all accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles, reckless imprudence charges are automatically filed against the drivers of the latter — regardless of any preliminary evidence that the motorcycle riders were clearly the ones who violated all traffic rules and regulations (as they egregiously always do with seeming impunity). The untold miseries that such prosecutorial bias could cause innocent

motorists cannot be overstressed.

It is much worse in all accidents involving vehicles and pedestrians. In one case of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide we handled in the past, all evidence pointed to the fact that it was the pedestrian who darted across the opposite side of the road, jumped over the center barrier and landed just a few meters in front of our client’s car which was then moving safely at a speed below 60 kilometers per hour.

To cut to the chase, we got him exonerated after more than five years of trial on the indisputable proof of a CCTV footage which the prosecutor had mindlessly ignored!

And here’s the most laughable no-brainer of all: Another client’s car was bumped on its side by a little boy who came rushing out of nowhere in an urban area known as a “baby factory.”

He slammed his head on the door so hard the impact caused a dent. The boy spinned, reeled and fell. His head was bleeding as he lay on the ground writhing in pain.

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His parents then came out crying bloody murder!

Our client took him to the hospital even as the boy’s parents kept threatening to kill him.

And guess what? We also ended up in court defending him against a preposterous charge of reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injuries and a claim for P500,000-plus in damages.

The judge could not resist reading the riot act to the prosecutor for wasting the court’s time on such a totally senseless case.

Under existing rules, an inquest or preliminary investigation by a public prosecutor is supposed to use a modicum of his brainpower to vet any available evidence and determine if “probable cause” exists to hold a suspect liable for a criminal offense.

“Probable cause” means “reasonable grounds for believing a person is guilty of a criminal act” warranting prosecution.

In reckless imprudence cases where motorcycle riders or pedestrians are injured, it is a waste of time as charges against car drivers become a foregone conclusion — regardless of exculpatory evidence which prosecutors perfunctorily pass on to the courts to decide upon later, thus contributing to the severe congestion in the court dockets. It’s crappy.

So, no, sir. There’s nothing wrong with the traffic rules

necessitating amendments; it’s just the sheer stupidity of those enforcing them.

STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,

Monsanto Law Office,

Loyola Heights, Quezon City

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, reckless imprudence, Road accidents, Stephen L. Monsanto, traffic rules
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