‘Mariing kinokondena’: How QC gov’t responded to gun-toting driver in road rage incident

August 28, 2023 - 4:32 PM
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Retired policeman Willie Gonzales is seen in images taken from video drawing a gun on a cyclist and striking him on the head during a traffic altercation near the Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City on Aug. 8. Lower right photo shows Gonzales and Quezon City Police District chief Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III (left) holding a press conference at Camp Karingal yesterday, with the pistol Gonzales used in the incident in the foreground. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The Quezon City government condemned a motorist’s act of drawing a gun at a cyclist during a road rage incident within the city.

The motorist was caught on camera pulling out a gun at a cyclist after his car collided with the latter. This confrontation happened along the dedicated bike lane near Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City on August 8.

Another motorist who happened to be passing by witnessed the incident. He captured it on video and uploaded it on social media.

The footage spread across Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

It soon reached Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.

In a statement issued on August 27, the city government said it has always been its advocacy to “keep our bike lanes safe for all cyclists.”

“Mariing kinokondena ng local na pamahalaan ang panunutok ng baril labans sa isang siklista na naganapa sa may Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City,” the statement reads.

“Inatasan na ni Mayor Joy Belmonte ang Quezon City Police District, kasma ang QC Law and Order Cluster, upang imbestigahan ang panunutok ng baril ng isang lalake sa isang siklista,” it added.

The driver in question, identified as Wilfredo Gonzales, has since surrendered to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) after the video of his altercation with the unnamed cyclist made social media buzz.

Quezon City, meanwhile, is still investigating the cause of the collision.

“Pinag-aaralan naman ang iba pang video mula sa mga CCTV sa luagar para malaman ang buong pangyayari. Sinisiguro ng pamahalaang lungsod na mananagot ang naturang lalake sa buong saklaw ng batas na kanyang posibleng nilabag,” it said.

The city government also asked for the cyclist involved to come forward for the investigation and for his safety.

Criticisms on the press conference

Gonzales formally faced the media through a press conference that was held at the QCPD headquarters on Sunday, August 27.

Quezon City Police Chief Brig. Gen. Nicolas Torre III sat beside Gonzales, who also happened to be a retired police officer, at the venue.

“Nandito po ngayon si Mr. Willie Gonzales at bigyan ko na rin siya ng pagkakataon na magbigay ng statement niya regarding sa nangyari,” Torre said.

Some lawyers questioned the QCPD’s decision to host this press conference for Gonzales.

“What’s the business of the QCPD hosting a press conference to allow a potential criminal suspect to air their side?” lawyer Oliver Reyes posted.

“Why did the PNP give that retired policeman a platform to explain why he drew and cocked his gun on that poor cyclist? He should be behind bars by now, and I guess a warrantless arrest should be in order,” human rights lawyer Maria Sol Taule also commented.

Other users on the X platform also accused the local police of prejudice favoring ex-cops.

“Pero if that’s an ordinary suspect and there’s a press con, I’m sure they’re wearing orange shirts, handcuffed and surrounded by police, minsan sisigawan pa. But eto, parang PNP pa ang nag lawyer. Naka upo, no handcuff and not guarded by the police,” a Filipino posted.

“The fact he pulled out a gun on a cyclist just because he allegedly bumped his car?? Where’s the accountability and protection for common people,” another X user commented.

“Takipan lang ng mali at protektahan. Di hinuli, may video naman na klarong may violation of law,” another Filipino user said.

In the press event, Gonzales told the media that he and the cyclist had already settled the matter.

He also turned over his firearm and his sedan when he surrendered to the QCPD.

READ: Gun-toting driver surrenders to Quezon City Police District