By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine National Police (PNP) identified on Sunday the five fatalities and nine injured victims who were involved in a freak accident along North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) in Apalit, Pampanga.
Sr. Supt. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson, identified the fatalities as Genelyn Sibonga, Angelie Pacheco, Angelita Paltao, Leah Pellerin and Mila Flores.
Meanwhile, the injured victims are Irene Adsal, Cristina Tomboc, Maricel Lamberto, Rizalee Valderama, Rohana Faren, Mylene Marcos, Irene Astoveza, Bernadette Tabaniera and Jesa Mar Jonson.
In an interview with The Manila Bulletin, Supt. Elmer Decena, chief of the Apalit police, bared that police are set to file charges for reckless driving resulting in multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property against John Leo Jaylo, 28, who was the driver of the Hyundai H100 semi-van which bore the victims.
“Nasa kustodiya pa rin namin siya at mag-fa-file kami ng kaso ngayong hapon (He remains under police custody and we will file the charges this [Sunday] afternoon),” Decena said.
The raps would be filed before the San Fernando fiscal’s office, he added.
As of 10 a.m. Sunday, Decena maintained that the death toll at the NLEx accident remained at five.
Earlier, Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) spokesperson Alberto Suansing said the death toll already climbed to six with five others injured.
Decena said the families of the three fatalities have already claimed the bodies at the morgue on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, two of the injured victims are being closely monitored because of their condition, he stated.
“Hindi naman ganoon ka-kritikal pero nagpa-transfer sila from Ascom Hospital sa Apalit to JBL Hospital sa San Fernando. Mas kumpleto ang gamit doon (Their conditions are not that critical but they requested to be transferred from Ascom hospital in Apalit to JBL Hospital in San Fernando),” he explained without disclosing the names of the victims he was referring to.
It can be recalled that a Hyundai H100 semi-van (conduction number MR8220) was plying an elevated portion of the northbound lane of NLEx Candaba Viaduct in Barangay Tabuyoc around 12:30 p.m. Saturday when its left rear tire suddenly exploded.
Investigators said Jaylo lost control of the vehicle until it swerved, hit a six-wheeler elf truck and turned turtle.
Some of the victims were thrown off the vehicle and plunged into a residential area as the van’s door opened.
Investigators suspect that the van was overspeeding so its tires blew up but they have yet to make a conclusion as to the cause of the explosion.
Of the 14 victims, 13 were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were catching a 7 p.m. flight bound to the Middle East at the Clark International Airport.