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Opinion

Untouchable?

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

As this column is being written on Friday, June 10, the driver of the SUV (sports utility vehicle), which ran over a security guard manning traffic on a busy intersection in Mandaluyong on June 5, has not surrendered.

The driver of the Toyota RAV 4 (plate number NCO 3781) continues to elude arrest for abandoning his/her victim.

The victim, Christian Joseph Floralde, 31, was in critical condition for several days at an unnamed hospital but is now in stable condition as this is being written.

Floralde was directing traffic at the corner of Julia Vargas and St. Francis St. when he was bumped and then run over by the RAV 4 sports car.

The police and Land Transportation Office (LTO) refuse to name the culprit, but I got the identity of the vehicle owner: Jose Antonio San Vicente Sr. He lives in Ayala Heights, a gated community, in Quezon City.

But sources said it could have been his son, Jose Antonio Jr., or somebody else behind the wheel of the runaway vehicle.

San Vicente Sr. is a much too decent man to have run away, I gathered from some of his friends and teammates in the practical shooting circles.

San Vicente Sr. is an active enthusiast of practical shooting, a sport using handguns and shotguns. He has even represented the country in practical shooting competitions in other countries.

Jose Antonio Sr. has sent surrender feelers, but he didn’t mention if it’s him who’s giving himself up or if he is turning over his son for investigation.

What’s dumbfounding is that the government agencies – like the LTO and the police – refuse to reveal the identity of the hit-and-run vehicle.

In other instances, the identity of a crime suspect would have been immediately revealed by the authorities.

People can’t help asking: Is it because the suspect is scion of a rich family?

Are the San Vicentes so influential they are untouchable?

The incident calls to mind the village guard in Parañaque who was beaten up severely by several men and made to kneel down in front of his oppressors.

The leader of the bullies, a son of Congressman Arnolfo Teves of Negros Oriental, was not arrested by the police after the incident.

In this country, rich people get away with murder; poor people go to jail or even get shot for urinating on a wall in public.

*      *      *

I’ve seen the hit-and-run incident on video, which has gone viral, and I get depressed every time I watch it.

Occupants of other vehicles that came upon the guard, who was lying writhing in pain on the road, did not stop to help.

It is a sad commentary of people’s apathy toward the plight of others in this metropolis; Metro Manila has become like New York.

In New York, especially in the subway, one could get beaten up by thugs and nobody in the crowd would lift a finger to help.

*      *      *

The choice of University of the Philippines (UP) political science professor Clarita Carlos sends a signal to the nation that the incoming administration of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is a civilian-oriented government.

Carlos has been appointed as National Security Adviser (NSA), a post currently held by retired military general Hermogenes Esperon.

Retired armed forces generals don’t have the monopoly of expertise in safeguarding the country’s internal and external security.

Civilians like Carlos have an even better grasp of national security because they don’t have the mindset of resolving differences through the barrel of a gun.

Carlos has impressive credentials for the job.

She used to be president of the National Defense College of the Philippines and lectured at the National Defense University in the United States.

*      *      *

When an organization that started small has become huge, people that hold the company purse can fool top management with nobody the wiser for it.

That seems to be happening to a drugstore chain that has branches all over the country, where people in the accounting department delay payment to suppliers or never pay them at all.

A medical supplier complains that people in the drug company’s accounting department have been giving her the runaround since 2014.

The accounting people keep insisting the company has paid her for the goods, but could not prove payment had been made, the supplier said.

Because of the much-delayed payment, the supplier said she had to sell two of her houses to pay the bank that had loaned her money to buy the medical supplies.

The supplier said she has all the proof – including the counter-receipts that are presented when payment is dunned – that the company still owes her a total of P17 million.

She suspects the money has been disbursed to another person or stolen by some people in the company’s accounting department.

On the other hand, people at the company’s purchasing department demand five percent of the amount receivable by each supplier, she said.

She plans to go directly to the owner or president of the company to lodge her complaint, but she’s barred from seeing the top honcho.

“I’m sure Ma’am V----- doesn’t know the shenanigans at the accounting department,” she said.

*      *      *

In Cebu province, people who are ugly won’t like Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia.

Garcia has issued an order making the wearing of facemasks in public no longer mandatory.

Facemasks will only be worn in poorly ventilated and indoor spaces, the order says.

*      *      *

Joke! Joke! Joke!

Doctor: Sir….

Patient: Excuse me, doctor, it’s ma’am.

Doctor: Okay. Ma’am, you have prostate cancer.

SUV

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