A tragedy waiting to happen

() - January 19, 2010 - 12:00am

As more cars are added to our streets and traffic jams get worse, people can expect more accidents involving road rage to happen this year. It’s rather unfortunate that simple traffic altercations could result in fatal shootings just because one driver gets very impatient and angry at another driver. This seems to be the case involving Jason Aguilar Ivler, the man suspected of fatally shooting Renato Ebarle Jr., the son of a Palace official.

Ivler, who had been the subject of a manhunt for the past two months, was finally arrested at his parents’ home in Quezon City – but not before engaging in a shootout that resulted in the wounding of two NBI operatives who were part of the arresting team. NBI director Nestor Mantaring said Ivler, who was hiding in a basement room, was armed with an M-16 armalite and had a bandolier full of ammunition. This young man seemed to be full of rage, continuing to fire at the agents even while he lay wounded, lunging at doctors as he was being transported to the operating room of Quirino Memorial Hospital in Quezon City. 

I am told Ivler’s arrest was the result of careful planning by the NBI, who received a tip from a former bodyguard of Stephen Pollard (the British stepfather of the suspect) that Ivler had been hiding in his Blue Ridge residence all this time. Police authorities raided Ivler’s house twice before but they failed to apprehend the suspect. Last month, an OFW by the name of Jason Aguilar who was mistakenly identified as Ivler was deported from Qatar, after authorities released a notice of Ivler’s warrant of arrest to the Interpol.

Insiders claim the confusion came about after Ivler’s mother, Marlene Aguilar-Pollard, told authorities that she received an email from her son saying he was already in Hawaii. Ivler was already facing charges for the death of a government official due to a traffic accident in 2004. He was caught trying to slip out of the country, then jumped bail, left and apparently returned to the Philippines without anyone noticing. 

Victim Renato Ebarle’s father quotes a witness saying Ivler wanted to overtake his son’s vehicle but was blocked by a taxi. Enraged, Ivler raced after the young Ebarle’s vehicle, cut his path and shot him three times at close range. Ivler’s case is just one of the many alarming episodes of road rage that has led to fatal consequences.

In 1991, Rolito Go shot La Salle engineering student Eldon Maguan after the latter mistakenly drove on a one-way street, nearly colliding with the car of Go who was driving on the wrong side of the road. Rolito Go got out of his car and shot Maguan. Last year, Go hogged the headlines due to allegations that he had bribed a Malacañang official for his release. Go’s name was included in the list of inmates recommended for executive clemency by GMA, but was granted a “live-out inmate” status instead after his victim’s family raised a howl over the planned pardon.

One other tragic case is that of pregnant OFW Feliber Andres who in 1998 was shot with a 9mm pistol by Inocencio Gonzalez due to a traffic altercation in Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina. Feliber’s husband had initially tailed Gonzalez’ vehicle and then cut into the latter’s path – resulting in an argument between the two drivers. In his rage, Gonzalez brought out a gun and fired at the Andres family’s vehicle. Feliber died, but doctors were able to save and deliver her baby.

But perhaps one of the most meaningless deaths of so many people happened in June last year, when two families stuck in a traffic jam in Imus, Cavite engaged in a shootout over a simple case of road discourtesy. According to reports, the misunderstanding started after Sowaib Salie, owner of a store selling cellphones and DVDs, started honking loudly and repeatedly at Raul Bautista, an ice plant owner, who was driving ahead of him.

The tension escalated as the two met-up in the marketplace and continued their argument, this time with their family members already joining in. The two groups then left and came back armed with handguns – resulting in the death of six people. What’s even worse about it is that one of Bautista’s sons came home just to attend the wedding of a brother – and both ended up dead along with their father and another brother.

Road rage has been a problem for so many years, with people unable to contain their anger over bad traffic jams compounded by ill-mannered drivers especially those who weave in an out of traffic without regard for the safety of commuters and other motorists. Traffic accidents have become an everyday occurrence, many of them caused by arrogant drivers who act like the kings of the road.

The case of Jason Ivler was a tragedy waiting to happen. As the number of people continues to increase and too many vehicles ply our already congested roads, we can expect more pollution, more undisciplined bus drivers, more irritating motorcycle and jeepney drivers, more angry motorists, more altercations, more collisions, more road rage and more people killed.

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Email: babe_tcb@yahoo.com

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