House bill proposes to penalize road rage
MANILA, Philippines — Tough penalties, including six years’ imprisonment and a P250,000 fine, are in store for drivers prone to unleashing road rage under a new bill at the House of Representatives.
In filing House Bill No. 5759, or the proposed Anti-Road Rage Act of 2019, San Jose del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes wants to impose stricter penalties on drivers who show “aggressive, hostile or violent behavior” on the road or in traffic.
Demonstrations of road rage include “mild to moderate screaming, wild gesturing at others, cursing or using bad language, physical attack at another or an attempt thereof, reckless driving, any kind of threat or intimidation, and any use of force against another person,” according to the measure.
The bill prescribes a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months to six years, as well as a fine of not less than P250,000, for any person who “engages in road rage.”
The offender’s driver’s license will also be suspended for five years following the violation.
Robes’ bill has been referred to the House transportation committee chaired by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento.
In its explanatory note, the measure noted the rising road rage incidents in the Philippines.
Robes cited recent statistics indicating that eight out of 10 drivers “admit to exhibiting aggressive behavior” on the road, while nine out of 10 “think of aggressive driving as a threat to personal safety.”
Road rage cases
Among the notorious road rage cases over the decades are the following:
Rolito Go, a businessman in construction, was convicted in 1993 for killing another motorist, college student Eldon Maguan, on July 2, 1991, following a road altercation.
Go had stormed out of dinner after a fight with his girlfriend, then drove against one-way traffic on Wilson Street, where his vehicle nearly collided with Maguan’s. An altercation followed, which eventually led to Go shooting Maguan.
On Nov. 18, 2009, Jason Ivler, a former member of the US Army, killed the son and namesake of former government official Renato Ebarle Sr. According to witnesses, Ivler alighted from his car and shot Ebarle Jr. at close range after blocking the latter’s car.
Ivler fled from the crime scene and went into hiding before he was arrested at the home of his mother in Quezon City on Jan. 18 the next year, following a shootout with police. He was convicted of murder in 2015.
Former Army reservist Vhon Tanto was sentenced this year to up to 40 years in prison after he was convicted of killing Mark Vincent Garalde in a road rage incident in Quiapo, Manila, on July 25, 2016.
A fistfight broke out between Tanto and Garalde after the latter, who was riding a bicycle, blocked Tanto’s car. Video footage showed Tanto getting a gun from his car and shooting Garalde repeatedly before escaping.
He later surrendered to authorities, who tracked him down in Masbate province after a nationwide pursuit.
On March 19, 2017, David Lim Jr. fired his .22-caliber pistol at nurse Ephraim Nuñal, following a traffic altercation in Cebu City during which a female companion of Lim tried to restrain him.
Nuñal survived the incident. After eluding policemen who raided his home, Lim surrendered days later, claiming self-defense when he shot Nuñal.
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