The case arraignment of the viral hit-and-run driver in Mandaluyong spurred questions about the video where the vehicle was seen driving over a security guard manning traffic last June.
Reports note that accused Jose Antonio Sanvicente pleaded not guilty to a case of frustrated homicide filed against him after running over Christian Floralde near a Mandaluyong mall with a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
The arraignment on Wednesday lasted for “less than five minutes” at the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213, according to the clerk of court, lawyer Homer Peñada.
Those present were Sanvicente, Floralde, and their legal counsels.
The suspect refused to answer questions of reporters after the arraignment.
A pre-trial is scheduled on October 4.
The update on the case caught the attention of some Filipinos who recalled how Sanvicente’s vehicle ran over Floralde despite seeing him in front of his car.
“Despite that as clear as day video,” a Twitter user commented in response to the reports.
“HE WAS CAUGHT ON CAM BUT [PLEADED] NOT GUILTY?! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS?!!!!” another online user exclaimed.
“He literally RAN THE GUARD OVER and it WAS CAUGHT IN CCTV! AND STILL PLEADS NOT GUILTY?” wrote a different Pinoy.
“Ang linaw ng video, seen by millions of Pinoys,” another Twitter user claimed with a sleepy face emoji.
It was on June 6 when a news outlet shared a video from Mike Angelo Ramos‘ dashboard camera, capturing Floralde manning traffic along Doña Julia Vargas Avenue and St. Francis Street in Mandaluyong City
Floralde gestured to stop the driver of the moving white SUV at the intersection but the vehicle continued to move forward.
The SUV briefly stopped when Floralde fell due to its impact, but it proceeded to move in the direction of other vehicles, running over the security guard.
Floralde was left with fractured ribs and a head injury. He was admitted to an intensive care unit for days.
Meanwhile, Sanvicente, driver of the SUV, faced the media at a press conference in Camp Crame where his parents were seen exchanging “mano” and handshake gestures with the acting police chief.
According to the suspect’s lawyer, Danilo Macalino, his client was “scared” and “panicked” when the incident happened.
“Siya mismo ang naga-apologize sa nangyari. Hindi niya gustong mangyari ‘yung aksidente. Nagkataon lang, natakot siya, nag-panic siya,” the lawyer said before.
Last August, the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor’s Office downgraded the frustrated murder raps filed against Sanvicente to frustrated homicide.
A resolution issued in June said the prosecutor made the decision after hearing the driver’s defense, adding there were no qualifying circumstances to consider the frustrated murder charge.
It also dismissed the complaint of abandonment of persons in danger and one’s own victim filed against him, saying it lacks probable cause.
The Land Transportation Office has revoked Sanvicente’s driver’s license following the incident.