The Land Transportation Office (LTO) disclosed on Monday, Aug. 28, that the motorist who figured in a viral gun-toting incident in Quezon City early this month is not the registered owner of the vehicle he was driving.
LTO chief Vigor Mendoza II said both the driver, later identified as dismissed cop Willie Gonzales, and the owner of the red KIA Rio (ULQ 802) will be summoned to explain in the investigation now being conducted by the agency after the incident went viral on social media.
“Since the driver involved had already surrendered to the police, our records revealed that the person who appeared in a press briefing at Camp Karingal is not the registered owner of the vehicle,” said Mendoza.
“The Show Cause Order we issued to the owner is still in effect and the driver of that car should also expect that the LTO will summon him to explain why the privilege that the government gave him to own a driver’s license should not be revoked as part of the due process,” he added.
In issuing a Show Cause Order, Mendoza said the vehicle owner will have to explain why the car was being driven by Gonzales, adding that they also want to know if the vehicle was already sold, or was borrowed or rented.
The incident happened on Aug. 8 near the boundary of Quezon City and Manila but the video went viral on Sunday, Aug. 27, after it was posted by lawyer Raymond Fortun.
In the video, Gonzales was seen cutting the line of the bicycle rider and hitting the latter as soon as he alighted the red car. He then pulled out his gun and cocked it in front of the bicycle rider.
On the part of the vehicle owner, Mendoza said there are two violations that are the subject of the ongoing investigation of the LTO that also requires the side of the registered owner.
The first is violation of Section 27 (Improper Person to Operate a Vehicle) and the second is violation of Section 48 (Reckless Driving) both of the Republic Act 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Violation of Section 27 involves the behavior of the driver of the car while Section 48 involves the allegation that the red sedan driven by Gonzales had encroached into the bicycle lane.
Mendoza said the registered owner of the vehicle was directed to submit a notarized affidavit explaining why sanctions should not be imposed in connection with the incident.
Failure to do so in the given time, date and place in the Show Cause Order, Mendoza said, will be taken by the LTO as a waiver for the agency to decide on the matter based on the available pieces of evidence.
“Pending the resolution of this case, I have already approved the recommendation to place this KIA Rio with license plate ULQ 802 to be placed under alarm effective immediately,” said Mendoza.
In the press briefing, Gonzales was quoted saying that the issue had already been settled with the bicycle rider in a police station.
But Mendoza explained that agreement between the two does not negate the fact that abuses may have been committed especially that the viral video showed that he hit the rider and even pulled out a handgun, and there was an allegation that the confrontation started when his car encroached into a bicycle lane.