LGUs in the Philippines

Belmonte to cyclist in road rage video: Come forward, we’ll protect you

James Patrick Cruz

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Belmonte to cyclist in road rage video: Come forward, we’ll protect you

ACTION. This file photo shows Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte during her oath-taking on June 30, 2019.

Quezon City Public Affairs Department

(1st UPDATE) 'This culture of impunity is not acceptable in QC,' Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte says

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte promised to protect and provide legal assistance to the cyclist who was allegedly coerced by a former policeman to make amends after the latter drew a gun on him during a traffic altercation.

“We are appealing to the complainant to come forward so that Willy Gonzales, whom I consider a menace to society, is held accountable. We want to assure the cyclist that we will extend legal assistance, as well as put him and his family in our protection so that justice is served,” Belmonte said on Monday, August 28.

She said that she would not allow the road rage incident to be “whitewashed.”

“The victim might be afraid to come forward because the person they are facing is affiliated with the government. We want to emphasize that there is no place for violence in our city,” Belmonte said in Filipino.

“This culture of impunity is not acceptable in QC, and I have a duty and responsibility to maintain peace and order in our city and to send a strong message that acts such as those committed shall not be tolerated and that he must be held accountable,” she added.

Based on the viral video taken on August 8, the cyclist was traversing Quezon Avenue near Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City when Gonzales’s car suddenly stopped in the bike lane. This resulted in the cyclist hitting the car.

The cyclist, who was not present during the August 27 press conference, was allegedly coerced into agreeing that he was in the wrong. This was according to lawyer and cycling advocate Raymond Fortun, who was in touch with the victim. 

On Facebook, Fortun posted a screenshot of his conversation with the unnamed cyclist, who claimed that he paid P500 to Gonzales and was forced into admitting that he hit the car. 

Naghalo na ang pagod ko at gutom, kaya nag-usap kami na para matigil na, kasi mag-isa lang ako na nasa police station (I was so tired and hungry, so we just talked to end it, as I was also alone in the police station),” the cyclist had told Fortun. 

The cyclist, however, would not be pressing any charges or complaints himself out of fear for him and his family. 

Fortun said that he would be filing two complaints against Gonzales: one with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to revoke his driver’s license and another with the Firearms and License Office of the Philippine National Police “for the revocation of any and all gun licenses” issued to him and his family. 

“I shall also furnish a copy of the video to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House for them to decide whether the same can be the basis for a congressional investigation, in aid of legislation, in order that the August 8, 2023 incident will not be repeated and that the citizenry would feel safer as they traverse our streets,” Fortun added. 

On the other hand, the Quezon City government is considering filing the following complaints against Gonzales should the cyclist come forward:

  • Grave threat
  • Slander by deed
  • Reckless imprudence
  • Physical Injuries
  • Violations of RA 10591 or absence of a license to own and possess a firearm
  • Absence of permit to carry

Quezon City also stressed that they have a city ordinance that penalizes motorists obstructing bike lanes or walking paths.

Following the incident, the city government said that it would strengthen the safety of bike lanes and deploy more bike patrols to protect cyclists and maintain safer roads. 

The LTO on Sunday, August 27, issued a show cause order against the driver, assuring the public of “swift action” on the incident through an investigation.

Preventive suspension

The LTO on Monday night said it had issued a 90-day preventive suspension on Gonzales’ driver’s license.

Ang ipinataw nating preventive suspensyon ay isang mabilis na aksyon mula sa inyong LTO upang matiyak na hindi na niya uulitin ang nangyaring pananakit at paglabas ng baril sa isang bicycle rider,” said LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II.

(The preventive suspension is a swift action from the LTO to ensure that he will no longer repeat hurting a bicycle rider and drawing a gun on him.)

He added that depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation, Gonzales’s driver’s license could be permanently revoked.

Mendoza said as part of his right to due process, the former policeman would be asked to explain why the LTO should not permanently revoke his license. – with reports from Jodesz Gavilan/Rappler.com

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