MANILA -- The daughter of a man who was hit by a taxi driver is calling for justice after the latter just left her father dying at a parking lot of a hospital in Quezon City.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Friday, Eleonor Ong recounted how her father was brought to the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH) after the incident but was left alone fighting for his life at the parking lot.
Ong, citing witnesses, said her father, who was on board a bicycle, was on his way home one night last week when he was suddenly hit by a taxi in Fairview.
She said the taxi driver then tried to run away and leave her wounded father on the road.
Fortunately, a tricycle driver, who witnessed the incident and later told her what happened, immediately prevented the taxi driver from running away.
"Paglingon niya (tricycle driver) po, nakita niya yung tatay ko tumitilapon na po. Tapos po yung taxi driver tatakas pa. Ang ginawa po ng tricycle driver nag-counterflow po siya, hinarang niya po yung tricycle sa harap ng taxi," Ong said.
"Tapos bumaba po siya, inutusan niya yung taxi driver na dalhin sa ospital yung father ko," she added.
Upon prodding, the taxi driver eventually requested his female passenger to get off the vehicle then lifted Ong's father and boarded him in the taxi.
The victim was still alive when he was lifted by the taxi driver, said Ong, citing people who witnessed the incident.
As soon as her father was boarded in the taxi, she said the driver went straight to QCGH in Barangay Bahay Toro when he could have instead brought the victim to a nearer hospital such as the Far Eastern University Hospital, General Malvar Hospital, New Era General Hospital, or East Avenue Medical Center.
Upon arriving at QCGH, Ong said the driver did not even bring her father to the hospital's emergency room but instead just abandoned him inside the taxi.
"Instead na dalhin niya sa ER para matingnan, iniwanan niya po sa parking lot ng QCGH, sa madilim na parte pa po. At tumakas," Ong said, painfully noting that her father could have survived if only he was immediately given treatment.
The Mama taxi with plate number TWS 729 was later found by police authorities at the hospital's parking lot and impounded in Camp Karingal.
When she went to Camp Karingal to follow up on the investigation into her father's case, Ong said she saw the operator of the taxi.
The operator, however, did not approach her. "Kahit nung nagpunta kami sa Camp Karinigal, tinitingnan lang po nila kami eh. Ni hindi man lang nga po nagsorry o nagcondolence sa amin," she said.
The driver, who was later identified as Monrey Montenegro, was arrested by police in his house in Caloocan.
Montenegro has already undergone inquest proceedings and was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to homicide, which is a bailable offense.
Ong lamented that the driver should have been charged with a graver offense, noting how he just abandoned her injured father.
"Para sa amin, pwede pa pong mas mataas sana dun ang i-kaso sa kanya dahil iniwan niya yung father ko, hinayaan niyang mamatay sa parking lot sa QCGH," she said.
Montenegro, for his part, claimed that the victim was already dead when he left him at the hospital's parking lot.
"Ang sabi niya patay na raw kasi kaya iniwan niya. Eh ang sabi ko nga po paano mo nalamang patay na eh hindi ka naman doktor para makapagsabi at walang tumingin na doktor," Ong said.
Call for justice
Ong is now requesting the female passenger of Montenegro to surface and help shed light on the case.
"Kung sino ka man po, sana matulungan niyo yung father ko na mabigyan ng justice yung pagkamatay niya. Kayo lang po kasi yung nakakaalam ng tunay na nangyari aside po dun sa tricycle driver na nakakita. Malaki din ang maitutulong niyo sa kaso."
She also asked for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's (LTFRB) assistance in holding the operator of the taxi accountable for the incident and also possibly suspending the franchise of the taxi.
LTFRB chairman Winston Ginez said they will set a hearing regarding the case. "Ipapatawag namin sa imbestigasyon yung operator ng taxi at bibigyan ng pagkakataong makapagsalita. After ng imbestigasyon, magdedecide kung bibigyan ng fine o penalty, suspension, o cancellation of license."
Ong said they also want the taxi operator to pay for the burial expenses of her father, who will be laid to rest on Sunday morning.