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Hit and run

A couple of weeks ago a dashcam video of an SUV running over a mall security guard twice, first with the front tire and then its front tire, became a viral sensation. The poor mall guard was simply doing his job directing traffic as the white SUV was captured on video running him over not once but twice, and then mercilessly fleeing the scene of the crime.

The security guard, identified as Christian Joseph Floralde, was taken to the hospital where he reportedly spent time in the intensive care unit and was treated for head injuries and a fractured rib.

Meanwhile the driver of the SUV, who was soon exposed through the registration details of the SUV as a certain Jose Antonio Sanvicente, went missing for almost a week.

Maybe the driver of the SUV was rattled, and that was why he fled the scene, but it soon became obvious that the person behind the wheel had no intention of surrendering the authorities. The Land Transportation Office issued a few show-cause orders and directed Sanvicente to appear before the authorities but was initially ignored. The local police filed complaints of frustrated murder and abandonment of victim but despite knowing the address of the guy, failed to either apprehend or arrest him.

After a few more show-cause orders that were ignored, the authorities filed a hold departure order and suspended Sanvicente’s driver’s license. Despite the incriminating video evidence, knowing where he lives, and what car he drives, the authorities that had been conducted drug raids and shooting down suspects based on much less evidence over the past 6 years suddenly seemed to have their hands tied. Perhaps it matters that this particular suspect looks rich and well connected?

It is not right to leave the scene of an accident but for some people, getting out of there as an act of self-preservation can make sense. While two wrongs (being involved in a collision and then fleeing the scene) may not make a right, it becomes less wrong if the driver involved immediately surrenders to the nearest police station or precinct. And if the driver disappears for a week and ignores summons, then it becomes terribly wrong, especially if the authorities fail to do their job of apprehending the perpetrator that has already been identified.

The gruesome hit and run symbolized a lot of things that is wrong with our society. Despite video evidence, a plate number, and identification of the driver, the LTO and the police couldn’t go the extra mile to bring justice to a security guard was run over twice by a SUV. This is the same police that has no problems with arresting poor people and farmers who make the mistake of gathering to air legitimate grievances.

The icing on the cake would be the press conference the police hosted for Mr. Sanvicente, his parents and counsel when they finally decided it was time to make him available. During the press conference, police officials even shook hands with the man’s parents who pleaded his case. At the end of the show, they were all allowed to go home as if nothing untoward happened at all. Only the RAV4 involved in the incident was impounded.

The PNP considered the case closed because the case had been filed and the suspect voluntarily gave himself up. The ball was now in the hands of the court where a settlement with the victim will most likely be reached. We all know that money makes everything ok in this country.

The moral of this story is that if you are involved in a hit, it is ok to run, even up to more than a week, as long as you’ve got rich parents and a good lawyer. Based on what happened in this incident, chances are the police will not raid your house to arrest you, but will simply wait for your surrender whenever you are ready, preparing a press conference along with a meet and greet with high officials for you and your folks.

For the underprivileged and with no connections, just stay out of trouble or prepare to be immediately arrested, handcuffed and paraded in front of the media or if you can’t afford bail, simply disappear into the bowels of the age-old system that gleefully swallows up the poor but spits out the rich.

The story of the security guard and the hit and run incident he luckily survived is one that happens every day in this country. As long as nobody dies, the rich should generally get away with almost anything while the poor will probably agree to a settlement and the cycle continues. That’s the way it has been, and that’s the way it will be because the people who can do something don’t see anything wrong with it.*

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