‘MMDA’ tow truck from hell
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - July 24, 2019 - 12:00am

Right after attending the funeral service for General James Barbers last Sunday at Loyola Memorial-Marikina, we decided to grab a quick lunch along C5 road before heading to the afternoon Sunday service at Victory Pioneer. Just as we pulled into KFC in C5, I heard a loud crash and then a second one that shook our Mitsubishi Montero. I quickly went out to check what happened and the first thing that caught my eye was an “MMDA Tow Truck” that had smashed into metal barriers and posts with its windshield broken in different places. Seeing no one, my first thought was that the driver may have had a heart attack. But there was no driver inside the tow truck!

I soon found out that the driver and passengers of the tow truck jumped and escaped on foot and were being chased by a Grab driver. I joined in the chase and soon figured out that the tow truck came from Libis and was southbound to Ortigas avenue when it sideswiped a taxi, broke its front right wheel and suspension and then rear-ended a Toyota Fortuner leaving it practically totaled. Then the truck rolled forward some 50 meters during which the driver reportedly told his passengers that the truck had lost its brakes and they all needed to jump! Given its momentum or velocity, the truck went another 50 meters, smashed into the Grab car Toyota Vios totaling the rear of the car and then drifted up the driveway of the KFC branch where we were in the process of parking and managed to crumple the rear door of our car and break the rear signal and brake lights of the Montero.

The Grab driver managed to catch up with the fleeing mechanic and a young boy simply because an Army man on a bike helped give chase. We immediately turned them over to the nearby Eastern police district precinct and I must compliment the officers and men of the EPD along C5 because within minutes there were about six to eight of them all over the scene of the multiple collision in spite of the fact that it was a Pacman Sunday and were busy preparing for the SONA last Monday. The down side was the realization that vehicular accidents in Metro Manila eats up a lot of time because a traffic accident investigator has to be called in, and if you happen to be on the far side of their area of responsibility, you simply have to wait with your license and registration on hand. When everything is done at the site of the collision, you will still be required to go to the nearest “traffic sector office” which for us was at Camp Karingal that was several kilometers in Diliman. Perhaps NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar could consider deploying additional investigators in police precincts along major roads such as C5, Meralco Avenue, EDSA and the likes, instead of the centralized system, not just for convenience but because it would also cut down on the response time of investigators.

With regards to the “MMDA tow truck” from hell, the reason I placed quotation marks is because we were not surprised to find out that the tow truck was considered a “colorum” because its accreditation ARD TT-095 was only good for 2016. Perhaps MMDA Chairman Danny Lim, GM Jojo Garcia and our favorite “Czar” of EDSA Col. Bong Nebrija can issue an immediate directive that upon expiry of accreditations all tow trucks should report to the MMDA for removal of those huge stickers on the doors of the trucks. It was those stickers that led people to believe that the trucks were actual MMDA vehicles and not merely “accredited”. The MMDA should also do what the LTFRB does – they ground entire bus fleets until an investigation has been completed to determine the safety of vehicles accredited.

The LTO, LTFRB and the MMDA could also make a joint recommendation for both drivers and owner/operators of public utility and commercial vehicles to be jointly or summarily liable in the event of accidents and collisions resulting into serious damage to property and personal injury. In our case, the owner of the tow truck from hell, a person allegedly named Ariel R. Diwa a.k.a ARD, made no effort to reply, respond or contact any of the victims of his runaway truck and crew for the last three days. On the day of the accident, he sent two individuals allegedly to find out the details of the accident but those turned out to be errand boys sent to retrieve spare parts that were left in the impounded truck. Assuming that Ariel R. Diwa actually surrenders his driver and helper, the fact remains that only the driver and helper will be criminally liable and that is of no comfort because the police will throw two men in jail who have no capacity to compensate the four parties involved while ARD continues to operate.

This is actually the reason why it has become “Industry Practice” for drivers and helpers to “jump and run” from a collision and it is public knowledge that some criminal minded owners and lawyers actually advise the drivers to do so, knowing owners and operators can’t be jailed. You can only get the owners to pay if you sue them in court, spend a lot of time and money to prove your case! That is why owners and drivers should be jointly and summarily criminally liable! If that’s not legally possible, then the LTO and LTFRB should ban these people; take away their licenses and franchise for fleeing from the scene and aiding and abetting the individuals and their actions. Hopefully some members of Congress won’t wait to be the next victims and do something about the law.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

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