Tado’s wife shaves head to protest lax road rules

Bea Cupin

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Lei Jimenez says her husband Tado 'was killed by the same system he painstakingly tried to change'

SHAVING FOR JUSTICE. A member of the artist group Dakila shaves the head of Leiz Jimenez widow of the late activist-entertainer Arvin 'Tado' Jimenez in front of the GV Florida bus station in Sampaloc, Manila Febuary 19, 2014. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Her lips quivering and her stare steadfast, the widow of artist and activist Arvin “Tado” Jimenez staged a silent protest Wednesday, February 19, shaving off her long locks to demand justice for the victims of the Florida bus accident.

Tado and 13 others died on-site after a GV Florida Transport bus fell into a ravine in Bontoc, Mountain Province. Lei Jimenez staged the protest in front of the bus company’s office in Sampaloc, Manila.

The protest was held ahead of a scheduled Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) public hearing on the incident.

The LTFRB earlier slapped a 30-day suspension on the bus company’s franchise, after they discovered that the ill-fated bus was using a different plate number.

Life’s ironies

In a statement, Lei said she chose to shave her hair as a tribute to her late husband, who was known for his long hair. “If Tado were alive then he would’ve done the same to make his statement loud and clear,” she said.

To the public, Tado was known mostly for his dry humor and wit. But off cam, Tado was also a staunch activist and founder of artist group Dakila.

“Tado has been an activist since our students days in PUP and he always made his political statement in a creative fashion,” said his wife.

One of his advocacies? Road safety. It’s ironic, said Lei, because her husband “was killed by the same system he painstakingly tried to change.”

“The whole system must be reformed,” said Lei, referring to the LTFRB. The body is responsible for issuing and regulating the franchises of public utility vehicles, such as buses and jeepneys.

“If this ‘kabit’ and ‘kolorum’ system continues and blatant multiple violations are tolerated, more lives will be put in danger,” she said.

LTFRB accountable too

The LTFRB has since announced planned policies in the wake of the incident, including speed regulators for both city and provincial buses.

Initial investigations point to human error or faulty brakes as potential causes of the crash. Survivors, however, contest the idea that the accident was caused by human error.

Lei called on survivors and their family and friends to rally together so they could “pursue the justice they deserve.” Some survivors have already began talks to explore “concrete actions.”

“This unfortunate loss of so many lives was caused by the irresponsibility of GV Florida Bus Lines and the LTFRB. They should be made accountable and justice should be served to the victims and their families,” said Lei.

A spokesperson for Dakila said Lei and her children have yet to receive compensation from the bus company. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.