Three policemen from the Quezon City Police District are now facing charges for “failing to protect” the rights of the cyclist in the viral gun-toting incident.
According to the Quezon City government, lawyer Raymond Fortun filed cases against PSSG Darwin Peralta, PSSG Joel Aviso, and PEMS Armando Carr with the Quezon City People’s Law Enforcement Board as a concerned citizen. He charged them with Oppression, Irregularities in the Performance of Duties and Incompetence, under Rule 21 of NAPOLCOM Memorandum Circular 2016 – 002.
“Despite the clear and imbalanced status of the parties, the same police officers failed to protect the rights of the cyclist when they failed to provide a legal counsel for him so that the latter would be duly appraised of his rights,” Fortun said.
“Further, they failed to secure the CCTV footages in the area in order to ferret out the real facts in the conflicting statements made by the parties. Finally, and for reasons known only to them, and despite there being sufficient basis to do so, the same police officers failed to file the appropriate charges,” he added.
The road rage took place on Aug. 8. In a video that made the rounds on social media, ex-cop Wilfredo 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 former policeman hit the biker’s helmet and immediately drew a gun at him.
According to the QC government, it “appears” that the two were sent to the QCPD Kamuning Police Station 11 as the first responders of QCPD Galas Police Station first considered it a “mere traffic incident.”
“Eventually, no charges were filed in Kamuning, and the parties were instead referred to the Galas Police Station late in the evening,” it added.
QC mayor Joy Belmonte called Fortun’s move an “act of heroism,” which is what the country needs now more than ever.
“What we need now are little acts of heroism from ordinary Filipinos to stand up for what is right to exact accountability from those in power. This move of Atty. Fortun in filing a case with our PLEB is a vote of confidence that here in Quezon City, we will get things done. The proper process in the proper forum, which is the PLEB, will now take its course,” she said.
For his part, PLEB chair and executive officer Atty. Rafael Calinisan assured the public that the institutions are in place “so that the community will feel safe and secure in their homes.”
“We commit to serve as an effective watchdog against abusive cops, and at the same time, serve as partners to our men in uniform towards nation-building,” he said.
“As far as the case filed by Atty. Fortun is concerned, we promise to act on this case with absolute dispatch,” he added.
According to the QC government, the PLEB is the check and balance mechanism created by the Republic Act 6975 or An Act Establishing the PNP Under A Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government and For Other Purposes as amended by R.A. 8551 (The PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998). It can “summarily dismiss, demote, suspend, and reprimand abusive policemen.”