Cyclist in road rage incident not forced to settle with ex-cop – QCPD officer
MANILA, Philippines — The cyclist who was hit in the head by a dismissed police officer during a recent road dispute in Quezon City was not forced to agree to a settlement.
Lt. Col. Jake Barila of Station 11 of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) made the statement on Wednesday during the hearing of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety.
Barila said footage from a closed circuit television (CCTV) camera would show that the cyclist was not “under duress” when he and ex-cop Wilfredo Gonzales settled the incident.
A video showing Gonzales hitting the cyclist with his palm and then cocking his pistol has gone viral on social media.
After the incident, the Philippine National Police revoked Gonzales’ gun license and the Land Transportation Office suspended his driver’s license. Gonzales was removed from his employment as a security officer of a Supreme Court justice.
“We have our CCTV in our office, and it can be seen there that the cyclist was not under duress. He was not forced to settle with Gonzales,” Barila told the House panel in Filipino.
“When they were taken brought to Galas [Police Station], the investigator explained what case may be filed by both parties. So during the course of the initial investigation, they both manifested verbally to settle instead. So my investigator made a referral to the barangay so that they can settle it there because it is forbidden in the PNP for such deals to take place,” he added.
The hearing of the committee did not include other recent road rage incidents in its agenda, but lawmakers heard the sides of those involved in the issue — including former QCPD chief Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III.
Torre resigned after admitting that he should not have held a press briefing with Gonzales after the video went viral on social media.
National Police Commission (Napolcom) Vice Chair Alberto Bernardo said that Torre should have been more prudent in his judgment to let the dismissed police officer join his briefing.
“He should not have conducted a press conference with the person concerned. He should have investigated deeper, especially when the person concerned was a respondent in criminal cases, and previously dismissed from the service. Had there been prudence in evaluating the facts, prudence dictates that it should have been calibrated more. He should not have taken sides and reviewed the matter first,” Bernardo said.
Torre, who was present during the hearing, admitted his mistake.
“I should not have allowed Gonzales to join me in the press conference, considering that the other party was not present and Gonzales was saying that they came to an agreement. It was really one-sided, considering that it was only him speaking. I should have exerted effort to locate the other person,” he said.
Earlier, Reps. Bonifacio Bosita and Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez, both of the 1-Rider party-list group — filed a resolution asking appropriate House panels to investigate gun-toting and pointing incidents against two-wheel riders. According to Gutierrez, this and another road rage incident last June might be different, but they were not isolated cases.
Gutierrez also said they are studying what gun regulation changes would be needed to prevent such incidents.