Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Road Rage on EDSA: My pulis point of view

I followed with interest the now-viral video of the altercation between two drivers in EDSA.  One was driving a Mercedez Benz, now identified as Karlvin Ang and the other a taxi, earlier identified as Glen Remetio.  From the first get go when this story was published, I already had a feeling that there are more things than there is in the video.  Of course Filipinos love the underdog, so Remetio got public sympathy early on.  But as the facts became clear, not a few Filipinos show the same feeling that I had—that Mr. Taxi Driver just met his match.

Precursor incidents (based on news reports pa rin.)

In earlier interviews, Remetio stated that he was “cut” by the Benz in a fly over.  Based on analysis, this is in Kamuning because he added that “nagkagitgitan sila pag pasok ng underpass at muli pag labas nito.”  By deductions again, this is in EDSA-Aurora-Tuazon” underpass commonly known as “EDSA Ilalim” in bus route lingo.  This narration gives credence to earlier witness accounts (I forgot the name of the source but I know that I saw this on TV) that stated that the Benz provoked the taxi by cutting him off at Kamuning flyover and the taxi responded in kind by tailgating the Benz afterwards.

Now this is where the video started.

Round 1:  By the position of the vehicles, it appeared that the Benz blocked the taxi on top of Santolan-Crame flyover and Ang went down to confront the taxi driver.  My guess is that he wanted to confront the latter for tailgating him.  His gun was INSIDE the bag at this time, but whatever his reasons are, this action of going out of his vehicle should still be taken against him.  Going down your vehicle to confront another driver is NEVER a good move.  There are very few valid justifications for it, and unless you are involved in a collision accident where your vehicle made contact with another or a pedestrian, you are never obliged by law to do so.  At this juncture, there was no contact yet between their cars so I think Ang was wrong here just like he was wrong in Kamuning if the accounts of him cutting of the taxi are true.  Thus one point for Remetio.

Round 2:  When Ang approached his taxi, Remetio attempted to get off his taxi WITH A KNIFE.  I can believe this scenario.  I will boldly state that 99% of taxi drivers will do this when involved in a “YABANGAN” which at this point, this incident was.  When Ang saw this, he attempted to prevent Remetio from getting off the taxi by slamming its door.  But Remetio was in a better position to apply more force to the door thus, he was able to get out.  Note that during all the shoving and pushing, Ang’s gun REMAINED INSIDE the bag all the time.  But Remetio still got off his taxi WITH a knife when the correct action on his part, if he wanted to also confront Ang, is to get off unarmed and engage the latter in a shouting match for all they want.  Had they done this, their only offense would be cured by a couple of traffic citations.  One point for Ang for keeping the gun in the bag but this is actually negated by the fact that he started all this confrontation.  He is only partially within Article 11 of the RPC.  Remetio exemplified the textbook example of “unlawful aggression” by attempting to bring the knife into the fight but an argument can be made that Ang triggered the aggression by sufficient provocation.  The response of Ang, which is to keep Remetio inside the vehicle, is correct and appropriate for the situation.  The gun is still in the bag at this time but the knife is already in the open and if Remetio killed Ang at this point, he will be liable for homicide.  He cannot claim self defense because the act of stabbing an unarmed man even if he latter started the confrontation is difficult to justify.  Bottomline:  Round is even.  Pareho silang gago.

Round 3:  This is the clincher.  Losing the shoving match and seeing a knife-wielding man now standing in front of him just a few feet away, Ang drew his gun and pointed it to Remetio.  He did not fire but this action settled the argument when Remetio, seeing the gun pointed at him, came back to his senses and threw the knife back inside his taxi.  Ang promptly returned the gun in his bag after seeing Remetio throw the knife back inside the taxi.  One point for Ang but 10 points for the gun!  Hahaha!  This is the use of the gun that I always teach to my students:  its threat of legal use is usually enough to settle most arguments.  You need not fire it to achieve its purpose.  But that is another article altogether.  Make a comment here and I will write the article.  But then again, in the final analysis, the legal use of the gun by Ang is again negated by the fact that he started all the ruckus by driving recklessly in Kamuning and getting down his vehicle in Santolan to confront the other driver, so still, had he killed Remetio even at the point when the latter was holding the knife, he will still be liable for homicide.  He can only claim incomplete self defense.  Yes, there was unlawful aggression because Remetio is holding a knife and the response is just appropriate because jurisprudence had already established that using a gun against a knife at that distance is justifiable, but Ang will certainly fail the third element because he started the escalation of forces by his own provocative actions.  Bottomline:  another even round.  Mga gago talaga silang pareho.

Round 4:  Ang confiscated the knife of Remetio and drove off.  Remetio chased and blocked him after about 200 meters under the EDSA-Santolan MRT station, ironically, right in front of Camp Crame, the seat of the PNP.  At this juncture, the vehicles had already made contact with the front right portion of the Benz hitting the left rear portion of the taxi.  At this point, the sympathy of the crowd is already against Remetio with the bus driver clearly heard shouting, “Matapang kasi e.  Ayan, gagawin mo yan.”  My interpretation of this statement is that it was directed to Remetio and the admonition for him to repair the damage of the Benz.  This is so because it can also be heard from the other passengers around the video taker saying that the “takedown” or the contact was clearly initiated by Remetio.  One clean point for Ang.  It seems that the employer of Remetio agrees with me because the latest news reports stated that he was fired by his taxi company.

So after all things were said and done, what is my pulis take on this?

Both of the parties are liable.  The scores show it.  Round 1, Remetio.  Rounds 2 and 3, even.  Round 4, Ang.  Hahahaha!

First:  Granting that Ang cut him off at Kamuning, Remetio cannot convince me that exacting revenge by tailgating the Benz is justified.  If I am Remetio, I will just curse Ang and pray that may he meet an accident!  Hahahaha!  Seriously this is what I actually do so all of you watch out for me in the streets.  Malakas ako sa langit at mababangga talaga kayo pag inasar nyo ako!

Bottomline:  Gago si Ang, pero mas gago ang pumapatol sa gago di ba?

Second:  Granting that Remetio was making revenge by tailgating him, the action of Ang of getting off his vehicle is another bigger kagaguhan that worsened his initial gago action of reckless driving at Kamuning.  (I just wonder, what is it about flyovers that triggers his kagaguhan?)  If I am Ang, I just would have let the taxi pass and simply say. “Mauna ka nang kupal ka.  Bukas taxi pa rin ang sasakyan mo.  Ako Benz pa rin.  Hahaha!”  Again seriously, this is what I do.  But because of what he did, Ang played Russian Roulette with his life because if it was me in the shoes of Remetio (though I will never provoke him the way Remetio did), he had a very good chance of getting two bullets in the chest and another in the head from the caliber .45 that I carry especially if he openly displayed his gun on me.  And I can justify this action legally because I will shoot him from a sitting position inside my car negating unlawful aggression on my part and easily proving that fact later because all I will say to the court is "How can I assault a person while sitting inside my car?"

Third:  But the biggest kagaguhan of all was done by Remetio when he chased and eventually bumped the Benz after Ang drove off.  No need to explain why but this is pure and simple stupidity because he could have just went straight to the police station and report the incident.  But he opted to get justice on the streets even though he already knew that Ang was armed!  If there is an example of pure stupidity, this is it.  And even if Ang does not shoot him (he must have been emboldened because Ang did not pull the trigger earlier) what if Ang replied in kind by smashing his taxi with the SUV?  He could have been maimed if not killed!  Because if it was done to me by Remetio, he would have tasted a textbook PIT maneuver that he will regret for the rest of his life!

All in all, for me, this is a case of an arrogant driver (Ang) provoking an equally arrogant driver (Remetio).  They really found each other.

Sayang nga lang, hindi pa sila nagpatayan.  Sana nabawasan ng dalawang gago ang kalsada natin.


Friday, July 11, 2014

That Stupid Gun Control Law

I can feel for PROGUN and the other licensed gun owners regarding the new firearms law.  Their gripes are legitimate and this government is ramming down their throats a very stupid law.  Ironically, RA 10591 is one of the laws that many current PNP top brass, including the C,PNP-in-waiting pretenders like PDG Marcelo Garbo love to trumpet as among their major accomplishments.  If this is the way they were thinking while they are not yet the Chief, God help us if they become one someday!

Why is RA 10591 stupid?  Let me explain in the barest and simplest means possible and from the viewpoint of a gun afficianado that I am.  The biggest departure of this law from the old one is that there are now two regulatory requirements that one needs to meet before owning a gun as compared to the old system where there is only one process that a person wanting to own a gun needs to undergo.  Now, one has to apply for a License to Own and Possess Firearms (LTOP) and at the same time register the firearm itself.  The wiseguys who conceived this, love to say that this is similar to cars where a car is registered and the driver licensed.  My simple retort is, “So you mean that just like a car, it is legal for me to lend my REGISTERED gun to another person who also has an LTOP?”  The answer is obvious.  It is not legal.  So what is the use of the revision of the law except for plain epal and stupidity?

The other reason that the wiseguys love to cite is the number of fictitious gunowners discovered in their audit.  This is the main reason that CPNP Alan Purisima centralized the processing of licenses in Camp Crame.  But is this the correct intervention?  Hell no!  Recently, it even landed in the papers that fake licenses are sold right inside Camp Crame by policemen from the FEO itself!  What that stupid directive of Purisima (one of the many, so what else is new?) simply did was just transfer the place of corruption from the provinces to the capital right into his own backyard.  Talk about double whammy for stupidity…

I simply cannot believe that Purisima does not know that the reason that there are so many fictitious gun owners on record is because of corruption in the FED—in the past and continuing to the present.  That office, which is strictly a place for paper pushers because the job is so obviously ministerial and better left to the NUPs or can even be outsourced to a third party service provider, is a very “JUICY” position that all fair-haired boys of the Chief, PNP, including the people they groom to succeed them, are assigned there, with the sole purpose of enriching themselves.  This is a unit where you have absolutely zero chance of apprehending a criminal, zero chance of an armed encounter that may give you a spot promotion, zero possibility of making an NPA return to the fold of the law, but why are PNP officers and PNCOs alike are falling head over heels just to join this unit?

I will leave that to your imagination but I would like to point out that not so long ago, there are several officers assigned to that unit who were investigated by the Ombudsman for unexplained wealth.  I just cannot recall their names.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Cop Killed by Own Gun?

Radyo Bombo Koronadal reported that on July 6, 2014, SPO1 Alex Bernal of Tampakan Police Station in South Cotabato was killed by his own shotgun when he slipped.

Here is the full report cut and paste from the FB account of Radyo Bombo.

KORONADAL CITY- Hinihintay na lamang ng Tampakan PNP ang magiging resulta ng post-mortem exam makaraang aksidenteng nabaril ng isang police officer ang kanyang sarili habang on-duty na naging dahilan ng kanyang kamatayan.

Kinilala ni Police Senior Insp. Jerwin Maglana ang biktima na si SPO1 Alex Bernal, ang operations PNCO ng Tampakan PNP, at nasa 46 anyos.

Ayon sa salaysay ni Maglana, naganap ang aksidente bandang alas 5:30 kahapon nang nagpapahinga si Bernal habang nasa tabi nito ang kanyang issued firearm na 12 gauge shotgun nang nadulas ito at aksidenteng nabaril ang kanyang tiyan.

Kaagad siyang isinugod ng kanyang mga kasamahan sa isang pribadong ospital ngunit idineklara na itong dead on arrival alas 6:15 kagabi.

Batay sa initial findings, isang putok lamang ang narinig, ngunit hinihintay pa nila ang resulta ng autopsy na isinagwa ni Dr. Washington Loreno.

Napag-alaman na 18 taon ng nasa serbisyo bilang pulis si Bernal.

My curiosity was piqued by this report for several reasons.  Aside from the fact that an investigation on the real details of the incident is necessary, it is also of equal importance that an examination of the trustworthiness of the equipment and the procedures in its use should at least be revisited and reviewed.

I am a fan of the shotgun as a police weapon.  In urban settings, I believe that it is even better than the M-16 rifle.  However, on an untrained hand, the shotgun is a very dangerous weapon.  While all modern shotguns feature mechanical locks and safety, the general unfamiliarity of an ordinary police officer on the weapon further amplify these dangers.  Of course, it is unpardonable for the manufacturer to have a shotgun going off if it is dropped.  A shotgun—and all weapons for that matter—should never fire because of impact or any other force aside from the actual squeezing of the trigger.  This is the reason why the “drop test” is included in the testing done by the DRD.

These are but a few of the reasons why an investigation on this case should be conducted.

Update: Everyday Corruption in Our Society

I have updated the article and added new photos.  Here is the link or just click on the tab beside the home button.

New updates loaded on July 9, 2014

A Nation of Thieves?

Yesterday I went to the University of the Philippines and used the toilet in the mall along Philcoa.  This is what I saw:

I cannot help but wonder how bad is the situation in Manila?  I cannot say that this is true for the whole country because I just read an article about the Honesty Shop in Batanes.  But here in the very heart of the metropolitan capital--in the literal backyard of the premier university of the country at that--people need to construct these steel cages to ensure that these bathroom fixtures are not stolen!

For crissake, this steel cage is not a simple protection against a petty thief.  This restroom is a microcosm of a society whose morals had gone down the toilet!  (All pun intended!)  Here are the reasons why:

First, this is a public restroom.  Everybody uses it (albeit for a P3 fee).  If this restroom is closed, where will people go if they need to use one?  Why is it that anyone would steal the fixtures installed in it?  How much will they earn as compared to the efforts that they will expend in dismantling it in the first place?

Second and most importantly (though this is not so much given attention), why would anyone buy such obviously stolen fixtures?  First and foremost, the fixtures are made of stainless steel.  Looking at this, it is obvious that the real owner can afford to buy one.  Now the thief who will sell this junk will never look like the owner.  How in the world can a junkshop owner encourage such shenanigans by actually buying that trash?

This situation is the same as that of cellphone snatchers.  Snatchers will never look like they can afford an Iphone 5 but when they go to a known fence and sell it, no questions are asked.  The fence buys the goods.

I am wont to ask:  had we really became a nation of thieves?  Do we still wonder why our politicians pillage the treasury if given the slightest chance?

Monday, July 07, 2014

That God-damned Rape In Zamboanga

The news that the reported rape of a six-year-old girl allegedly by an 11-year-old playmate has taken a new twist after the alleged victim pointed to her grandfather as the real culprit.

As reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the girl first pointed to her playmate as the abuser during the first investigation.  She was then accompanied by her grandmother—the wife of the suspect.

The curiosity of the investigators must have been piqued because the case first came to light when the victim was brought to a hospital due to a recurring fever.  It was later found out that she had sexually transmitted diseases.  If I am the investigator, it is obvious that the playmate is an unlikely suspect because of the STD.  If the boy has STD, then he must be another victim too.  It is unlikely that an 11 year old boy will be that sexually active to contract the disease that early.

But that is not what really urged me to write this article.  It is the reaction of the grandmother that I lament most.  Despite of what happened, it was reported that the grandmother even defended her husband.  In the article, it was also mentioned that the mother of the girl, a deaf-mute is pregnant despite her husband leaving her years ago.  The authorities suspect that she is also a victim of abuse by her father.

This incident makes me wonder:  where had this country gone?  Where are we heading?  Morals are out of the window?  Values are all just for what?

Are these among the people calling their politicians as immoral?

God help the Philippines…