Robert Blair Carabuena must be really upset these days. Carabuena was the Philip Morris executive who was caught in TV 5’s footage berating and slapping a Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcer even though he was clearly the violator for speeding ahead through a red light.
Carabuena’s abusive behavior quickly made the rounds of social media where he earned the ire of the Filipino online community. Due to the negative publicity surrounding Carabuena’s conduct, Philip Morris reportedly placed the resource supervisor under preventive suspension pending an investigation.
Carabuena isn’t meekly keeping a low profile as a result of the public firestorm over his bully behavior. Long after the MMDA said it would file a case against him, Carabuena threatened to file his own case against the traffic enforcer.
We’ll see what happens but Carabuena’s arrogant outburst doesn’t come as a surprise to us non-Manila residents. While we don’t experience the monster traffic jams that plague the capital, Metro Cebu isn’t immune to road rage.
Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez’s adopted son Joavan figured in traffic spats that have escalated from near-collisions to ramming a police car though he’s been trouble-free for the past year or so.
Two years ago, a Japanese visitor accused Mandaue City Asst. Prosecutor Bienvenido Mabanto of mauling him on the road. The list goes on.
Carabuena’s fate was similar to, though lesser in degree, than the road rage incident that resulted in the conviction of inmate Rolito Go, who figured in the news again after he managed to escape his jailers and resurfaced, with his family claiming that he was kidnapped.
It’s easy for one to lash out at Carabuena and condemn him since he crossed the line and is the one at fault for violating a basic traffic law. That he wasn’t on official duty when he committed the traffic violation doesn’t make his deed less appalling.
But we take cognizance of the point raised by Patrick Villavicencio of InterAksyon.com, who wrote in his article “Carabuena vs Social Media: Is it cyber justice or cyber-bullying?” that some of the outrage vented on the hapless Philip Morris executive went too far to the point of being threatening.
It was no small coincidence that TV5 is also home of the Tulfo brothers, whose eldest, Ramon Tulfo, also landed in YouTube and websites for his slam-bang airport encounter with celebrity couple Raymart Santiago and Claudine Barretto.
Carabuena’s misbehavior teaches us one thing and that is to exercise tolerance and patience in dealing with people on the street and especially in our homes.
We never know when our bad behavior would land in a social media site, exposing us to the judgment of an unforgiving online public.
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