Driver says he took punches from ex-Iloilo Rep. Albertito Lopez’s son
A personal driver of the son of former Iloilo Rep. Albertito Lopez had filed a police complaint against his employer who, in a drunken rage, allegedly punched him and threatened to kill his family for reasons still unclear in Makati City last month.
But Albertito Lopez III dismissed the allegation as “lies” when reached by the Inquirer, saying it was he who had reason to sue the driver for stealing money from his car before disappearing.
In a complaint filed in the Makati police headquarters, Teofilo Gabelo Jr., a 51-year-old resident of Silverio Compound, Parañaque City, said he was hit twice by Lopez—inside a restaurant and in his vehicle— in the early morning of Feb. 23.
Shortly before the assaults, Gabelo said, he and his boss arrived at the restaurant (which went unnamed in the complaint) with the latter intoxicated but still “hungry” after having a drinking session with friends. Lopez, however, decided to stay in the vehicle and asked him to order chicken steak to-go.
“At the restaurant, I ordered four servings of chicken steak. I was told by the waiter to wait for 15 to 20 minutes. While I was waiting, he (Lopez) kept calling me on my mobile phone,” the driver said in Filipino.
“He was cursing me over the phone. He later got off the vehicle and suddenly hit me in the chest and threatened to kill me and my family,” he said.
Later, as he was driving Lopez home to Dasmariñas Village in Makati, his boss punched him again, this time in his right ear, Gabelo said.
Gabelo said he packed up and left Lopez’s house just before dawn that same day, going directly to the Makati police station to file the complaint.
In a phone interview Tuesday, Lopez, a businessman, belied Gabelo’s story, saying the driver left his house on Feb. 24 and took the P50,000 in cash that was kept in his car.
He also maintained that he was still with his friends at the time of the alleged assault.
“He (Gabelo) left our house and took money from us. He hasn’t even paid the money he earlier borrowed from us,” he added.
Lopez noted that the driver had also filed cases of illegal termination and nonpayment of wages worth P12,000 at the Department of Labor and Employment a few days after he left.
“I would have wanted to settle and pay him his wage claims. But how about the money he took from us?” Lopez said.
The businessman said he decided not to file theft charges against the driver. “I was just thinking of letting it go, since I can’t prove to the police that he was the one who stole it. But I was surprised that he even went to the police to tell those lies.”
If the Feb. 23 assaults really took place, the driver should have filed a case in court, Lopez said.
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