It was just another case for Senior Police Officer 4 Henry Se: A driver died after crashing his BMW into a concrete barrier last week in Quezon City.
Little did Se know that the simple act of returning all the valuables of Jose “Jim” Alvarez to his loved ones would earn him the deepest gratitude of the victim’s father, Palawan Governor Jose “Pepito” Alvarez.
“It was just another day at work. It was what any policeman would have done,” said Se, a 50-year-old traffic investigator of the Quezon City Police District’s Traffic Enforcement Unit (QCPD-TEU).
The older Alvarez, admired in business circles as a self-made tycoon who distributes BMWs in the country, went to the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal Thursday morning to personally thank the policeman who turned over his son’s belongings following the August 29 accident.
The younger Alvarez, 45, was killed after his BMW 5 Series GT car smashed into a concrete barrier at the foot of the Katipunan Road flyover around 11:45 p.m. Thursday last week. The victim was then driving home to Makati City after treating his sales team to dinner.
The governor, who was in Palawan province at that time, said he did not really expect his son’s belongings to be returned to the family following the accident. “You know how it is in accidents. Sometimes before the police arrive, there are those who loot the car,” he said in an interview.
Alvarez said his son was the fifth motorist to be killed in the accident-prone area. The flyover barrier was neither amply lit nor marked with reflectors to alert approaching motorists.
He thanked Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte for “immediately (making) sure that safety signages would be put up near the barrier to prevent another accident.”
When they first heard of the accident, Se and his superiors had no inkling that the ill-fated driver was a businessman and son of an incumbent governor. But seeing the BMW at the site, “I knew this guy was not an ordinary guy. So my first move was to secure all the belongings before they fall into the wrong hands,” the investigator said.
TEU head Superintendent Arnold Santiago said it was standard procedure for a traffic investigator to secure the victim’s valuables. “It was a good thing that Se arrived there fast before some bystanders could make their move,” he said.
Se held on to the belongings until Jim’s mother called her son’s cell phone. That was when she learned of the tragedy.
The officer returned a wad of cash, which Se said he didn’t bother to count; some IDs, ATM and credit cards, a driver’s license and Jim’s Rolex.
“Nothing was missing. They all have my unending thanks,” Alvarez said. “Even though my son is dead and nothing can bring him back, I would still like to thank the honest policeman who kept his belongings safe, and also the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority rescuers who pulled him out of the wreck.”
The QCPD Deputy Director for Administration, Senior Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, also praised Se. “Our policemen should be always like this, honest and faithful to their duty, even when there’s no one (watching them) on the streets,” the official added.