Kin of roadside heart attack victim seek probe after cash went missing
Tragedy struck twice for the family of a man who recently died of a heart attack while driving in Mandaluyong City, after some valuables he had in his car allegedly went missing right after authorities responded to the emergency.
The family of Nelson Calabia, 45, a sales supervisor at United Laboratories, said he was on his way to work around 11 a.m. on Nov. 4, when he suffered a heart attack while driving through Reliance Street.
He stepped on the brakes and sent text messages to family and friends for help, according to his uncle Ike Gutierrez, a spokesperson of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Minutes later, about three traffic enforcers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) came to help Calabia, smashing the car’s window to get him out and bringing him to the nearby Dr. Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center, where he was declared dead on arrival.
As the family struggled to come to grips with his sudden death, questions arose when Calabia’s wife revealed that he had brought with him his passport and $1,500 in cash that morning.
According to Gutierrez, his nephew was planning to go to a travel agency that day to book a trip to Singapore.
When Calabia’s clothes were turned over to his family, only a $100 bill was recovered in the pockets, Gutierrez said.
Calabia’s car, which was impounded by the Mandaluyong City police around 45 minutes after the MMDA men found him, contained only the bag where he kept his laptop and cell phone when returned to the family.
After Calabia’s cremation on Saturday, the family started asking about the missing dollars and passport, starting with the MMDA enforcers.
But a dismayed Gutierrez recalled that when he tried filing a request for an investigation at the MMDA on Saturday, “I was given the runaround.”
He was told that the matter would be forwarded to higherups and that he could just do a followup next week.
“But that may be already too late,” he said. “We just want to ask who the traffic enforcers were and talk to them. We’ll also be asking the Mandaluyong police and the hospital staff,” Gutierrez said.
“It’s not even about the money,” the bereaved uncle said. “But those were from [my nephew’s] life savings. If they were taken, it’s as though he died twice.”
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