‘Road rage’ protagonists must be treated equally

November 17, 2018

News about the so-called ‘road rage’ suspect figuring in a heated confrontation with and punching another motorist along MacArthur Highway recently showed the lamentable side of certain people in government and even common netizens that needs to be changed.

Jojo Serafico Valerio, 30, said to be a singer, had been arrested and charged before the City Prosecutor’s Office in Angeles City  with serious physical injuries, grave threat, usurpation of authority, and violation of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

The charge stemmed from the November 12 incident involving him and 26-year-old Jesusito Juan Palma, a nurse. A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage that went viral on social media showed Valerio hitting Palma in the face between 1 and 2 a.m. of November 11 along MacArthur Highway in Barangay Balibago, Angeles City. As the video went viral, it is highly noticeable how so much attention and focus were given to the ‘8’ plate number of the car being driven by Valerio, apparently since such kind of plates are given only to lawmakers.  Immediately, authorities reacted against Valerio while lawmakers and netizens were quick to dip their hands into the issue.

Well, I have nothing against those who would want to investigate why Valerio was using a plate meant for Congressmen.

The guy had been shamed, arrested and duly charged but what about his side of the story? He has told interviews about how disappointed he was that he had been ‘prejudged’ based on the short video which showed him punching Palma in the face, saying such video did not tell the whole story of what really happened.

Valerio and his wife too, said they were looking for a place to eat when their FJ Cruiser was nearly hit by Palma’s car, prompting Valerio to heavily and suddenly step on the brakes, causing her wife to lose her grip on their  four-month-old child that she was holding so that the baby got thrown forward.

Following the near collision, Valerio said he chased Palma’s car, cut him and then went out to confront him.  He further claimed that Palma spat at him and was reeking of liquor even as his companion on the driver’s seat was drunk dead amid the heated exchange, which was why he was provoked into punching him in the face.

I think authorities should also look into the charges of Valerio with the same amount of fervor and not succumb to public pressure, specially from netizens most of whom are merely surface reading or do not even fully understand what they read or watch but are just quick to react. Although these ‘memas’ (me masabi lang) and ‘sawsaweros’ (issue dippers) are too many, to me, their opinions should not count.

What if it is true that Palma was reeking of liquor at that time? Is this not an offense enough to endanger his and others’ lives?

As a motorist myself, I can relate. There was a time when I was driving for my late mother along Roxas Boulevard. She was sleeping at the front seat then when all of a sudden, a speeding car cut me. I was prompted to step on the brakes suddenly and forcefully to avoid hitting the car. The force was too much that my car created skid marks and screeched.

Fortunately, my mom and I were wearing seatbelts otherwise, my mom would have been thrown and hit either the dashboard or the windshield but just the same, the impact caused her pain. The car went on like nothing happened.  I tailed it and when I was able to drive alongside it, I rolled down the window on the passenger’s side and threw a ‘double A’ battery on the reckless driver’s window.

When the driver -- also a woman- rolled down her window, she at first feigned innocence. I told her everything that had to be told and when she no longer reasoned out, in apparent admission of guilt, I left and drove past her. If she spat or appeared drunk, it would have been a totally different story.

If that reckless lady driver was able to videotape my anger at that time and that video came out, I would have been the outright villain and no one would have longer cared about what that person had done to me and my mom in the first place.  Because sadly, in this country, the smart netizens are outnumbered by dimwits.

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