All it took was the strong words of the country's top cop about the possible dire consequences of continuously defying the appeals to surrender and cooperate.
Two days after reading the warning of national police Officer-In-Charge Police Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao, Jr., the driver of the white sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the viral ramming of a security guard in Mandaluyong City finally surrendered on Wednesday, June 15.
Accompanied by his parents and his lawyer, Jose Antonio "Anton" San Vicente also appeared before a press briefing at Camp Crame in Quezon City on Wednesday afternoon and explained why it took them so long to surrender.
"General Danao issued (a warning), so I was really afraid. Then I said we really have to do this, we have to go to General Danao already to surrender," said the mother of San Vicente when asked why they decided to go to Camp Crame.
Danao said the family of San Vicente also turned over the white SUV (NCO 3781) which was seen in the dashcam video hitting security guard Christian Joseph Floralde at the intersection of Julia Vargas and St. Francis Street last week.
"As far as PNP is concerned, we consider this case solved considering that we already filed the case, and the person of interest, the suspect, voluntarily gave up to clear matter at hands," said Danao.
On Monday, Danao warned the SUV driver of dire consequences if he would continuously refuse to surrender, especially once the arrest warrant is issued by the court.
Police filed charges against San Vicente that include frustrated murder and a violation of the Revised Penal Code about abandoning a victim.
Danao emphasized the importance of San Vicente Jr.'s surrender, as well as the decision of the family to turn over the vehicle.
"It (car) is one of the most important evidence that we need to secure," said Danao.
What were you thinking?
Anton said that it was all blur at the time of the incident when asked to comment on what he did.
"Hindi ko na talaga malaman, magulo na isip ko nun," he told reporters in a chance interview.
Anton's mother told reporters that her son is kind a very responsible man.
"It was an accident. Nobody wants to abandon (the victim), he was rattled," she said.
In the viral dashcam video, the white SUV was seen being signaled to stop by Floralde but instead of yielding, the vehicle went on and hit the security guard. The white SUV was later seen speeding off that resulted in the security guard being run over.
"Apologies for the incident, apologies to Mr Floralde and his family," said Anton when asked to comment on the incident.
In an interview over dzBB before the surrender, Floralde said he is determined to pursue the case.
He also asked the driver of the SUV to surrender and face the consequences of his actions.
Lawyer Danny Danny Macalino, legal counsel of Anton, said there was no real intention to abandon the victim as he said his client panicked over the incident.
"We do not condone the incident.. Let the public be informed that we went to the Mandaluyong Police and told them to file the necessary charges in order for us to answer in the proper legal process," he said.
Following the incident, there were reports that the registered owner of the vehicle is Jose Antonio San Vicente Sr. and that the driver at the time of the incident was his son Jose Antonio San Vicente Jr.
The Land Transportation Office already revoked the driver's license of a certain Jose Antonio San Vicente, the registered owner of the vehicle, and decided to perpetually ban him from securing one after repeatedly snubbing its order to appear at the LTO office to explain.
During that time, it was not clear who was driving the car at the time of the incident and the action was based on what the police described as a legal doctrine that it is always the registered car owner who is assumed to be driving the vehicle at at all times.
But the father said there was no Junior or Senior in their family.
A day after the incident, the father said several policemen went to their house and allegedly confronting him as he is the registered owner of the vehicle.
"I told them that I am not the registered owner. I am Joel San Vicente and my son is Jose Antonio (San Vicente)," he said.
He explained that the address that reflected at the LTO was at their house because he bought the vehicle for his son who was the driver of the car when the Mandaluyong ramming incident occurred.
Why the lawyer
Amid the controversy over the incident, it was Macalino who appeared to the Mandaluyong City Police and he was reported to have asked for police assistance t reach out to the family of Floralde.
When asked why he did not convince his son to surrender, Joel said he also panicked after realizing how serious the trouble that his son got into.
"I cannot think well because it was not a natural accident so the first thing that I did is to contact a lawyer. I think it was natural for suck kind of accident to call a lawyer as I could not think well because it's my son," he said.
Since then, Joel said he has been consulting their lawyer.
No further comment
And now that the driver of the vehicle surrendered and the car was turned over, Danao said they will no longer comment on the issue and leave instead the legal process to take its course.
A number of policemen were reported to have been 'eager' to serve the arrest warrant after the PNP was accused of double standard in implementing the law. Danao himself could not hide his anger over the incident, especially the alleged refusal of the driver to surrender.
"We are elevating this to the Prosecutors Office, to the courts which are the proper venue to answer the matters at hand. We don’t want to further comment because it might prejudice the result on the matter at hand in court," said Danao.
"And now that he surrendered, let us leave them answer the cases against them in the proper forum," he added.