Sentenced driver in Bontoc bus mishap remains scot-free

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The driver of the GV Florida bus that figured in an accident in Bontoc, Mountain Province, killing 15 persons a year ago remains scot-free despite a court sentence for him to be jailed for at least two years and 4 months.

Chief Senior Superintendent Oliver Enmodias of the Mountain Province Police Provincial Office said on Friday, February 6, they are hunting down bus driver Edgar Mendoza Renon, who was behind the wheels when the Florida bus from Manila plunged into a deep ravine in Sitio Pagang, village of Talubin, Bontoc.

On August 4, 2014, Bontoc Municipal Trial Court Judge Luis Daoen found Renon guilty of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide with serious physical injuries and less serious physical injuries.

He was sentence to two years and 4 months to 6 years in jail.

However, the police chief said, Renon had not served his sentence, apparently on the run since he posted bail of P50,000 a week after the mishap on February 7, 2014.

There are unconfimed talks in the region that Renon has since been driving for other bus companies that service Cordillera routes. 

The court also held Renon liable for 25 counts of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. He was sentenced to a 30-day jail term for every count.

Renon was also ordered to indemnify the family of the 15 dead victims with P50,000 each.

He was also told to indemnity victim Carina Codiamat with P20,596.50 for her hospital expenses following the incident.

The court also held GV Florida Transport Corporation liable to pay the indemnity in case Renon fails to pay the victims' families due to personal bankruptcy and incapability.

The casualties included TV and film comedian Arvin “Tado” Jimenez, Canadian national Alex Loring, Dutch national Adriana Van Deven, Marcial Baranda, Andrew David Sicam, Natividad Ngawa, Gerald Baja, Ana dela Cruz, Giovani Bam Morillo, Redentor de Lara, Leah Reyes, Emily Gentalian, Katrina Gozos, Christian Cavardo and Jonathan Patolot.

Among those injured were the bus' alternate driver Alexander Longadey, Abegail Atin, James Papsa-ao, Carina Codiamat, Basilan Baranhuat, Robert Coronado, Natty Bang-i, Dino Dimar, Christian Cavardo, Bernard Burnhard, Camille Ososrio, Melchor Suaken, Corina Javier, Teresita Sawad, Annenmik Verwegen, Silvestre Dawey, Agung Sicam, Jerry Agnapan, Wenceslao Ciano, Michael Negrito, Dan Echavez, Jason Melchor, Charlie Sta Maria, Paeng Cordove, Olivia Aglipay, Trina de Leon, Estella Danilo, Demetrio Danilo, Amien Sicam, and Abegail Sicam. –