Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte and other government agencies condemned the act of ex-cop Wilfredo Gonzales, who pointed a gun at an unarmed cyclist during a road rage incident that took place on Aug. 8.
In a video that's been making the rounds on social media, Gonzales is seen getting out of his car while having a heated exchange with a cyclist who cut his lane along Welcome Rotonda at the boundary of Manila and Quezon City. The incident quickly escalated as the ex-cop hit the cyclist’s helmet and immediately drew a gun at him.
Government agencies condemned the violent act in separate statements. QC mayor Joy Belmonte urged the cyclist to come forward as she assured him that he will be given legal assistance and protection by the city government "in filing necessary cases."
“We are appealing to the complainant to come forward so that Willy Gonzalez, whom I consider a menace to society, is held accountable,” she said in a post released on the QC government's website on Aug. 27.
“We want to assure the cyclist that we will extend legal assistance, as well as put him and his family in our protection, so that justice is served. I will not allow this case to be whitewashed. Maaaring natatakot ang biktima na humarap dahil ang nakatapat niya ay taga-gobyerno. Nais nating bigyang-diin na walang puwang ang karahasan sa ating lungsod,” she added.
“He is not only an irresponsible gun owner with anger management issues, but a danger to our people,” Belmonte stressed.
This was seconded by the Department of the Interior and Local Government as Secretary Benhur Abalos likewise highlighted that criminal cases should be filed against Gonzales.
“For the sake of a peaceful and orderly society, we cannot allow a culture of impunity. We cannot allow bullies to just go around intimidating people with deadly weapons. There must be consequences here,” he said.
“Even if the victim won’t testify, criminal cases can still be filed if another witness comes forward,” he stressed. “For example, the person that took the viral video, or other bystanders during the incident, can establish that they were at the scene, and identify the perpetrator and the acts that he committed. At the very least, a case for alarm and scandal could be filed," he added.
The Philippine National Police, for its part, revoked Gonzales’ license to own and carry a firearm following the gun-toting incident.
"Public safety is non-negotiable, and responsible gun ownership is a cornerstone of that safety,” PNP Chief Benjamin Acorda said in a statement, stressing that they are committed to “upholding the wellbeing of our communities” by regulating the standards of firearm ownership.
“Let this incident serve as a clear reminder that owning a firearm is a privilege that demands adherence to the law and the highest ethical standards,” he stressed, urging gun owners in the country to instill and reflect “values of respect, accountability, and security."
The Land Transportation Office, meanwhile, issued a show cause order against Gonzales and asked him to cooperate with the investigation on Thursday, Aug. 31.
He is subject to multiple traffic violations, such as Disregarding Traffic Signs, Obstruction of Traffic, Reckless Driving, and Improper Person to Operate a Vehicle. If he fails to show up and submit a sworn statement within a given period, the LTO said they will file administrative charges against him.
Gonzales' driver’s license has also been under a 90-day preventive suspension since Aug. 28.
Gonzales expressed his “regret” about what he did in a press conference held last weekend. "Sa oras na iyon, napagtanto ko na isang kamalian na inilabas ko at ikinasa ko ang baril kahit na ito ay hindi ko naman itinutok sa kanya. Dahil dito, boluntaryo kong iniwan ang baril sa police station upang malinaw kong mapag-isipan kung gusto ko pang mag-ari ng baril sa hinaharap o hindi na," he said.
He, however, called on social media users and vloggers to be “responsible” in sharing content online, especially since he was put in a bad light. "Ang pakiusap ko lang po sana, 'yung mga vloggers, sana maging responsable sila. Hindi nila alam ang puno't dulo. Marami agad magco-comment, nakita [akong] nagkasa [ng baril], hindi naman nila nakita 'yung tunay pangyayari," he said. "'Yun lang ang pinapakiusap ko sa mga vloggers kasi kawawa naman ang mga anak ko, mga kapamilya ko. Parang ang sama-sama kong tao."