LTO erred in clearing Carabuena?

By Rainier Allan Ronda, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 18 2013 06:57 AM | Updated as of Feb 18 2013 02:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - An official of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) yesterday said the agency may have erred in clearing Robert Blair Carabuena, the motorist who was videotaped assaulting a traffic enforcer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Lawyer Teofilo Guadiz III, former director of the LTO National Capital Region, ordered Carabuena’s driver’s license suspended last September.

The suspension stemmed from Carabuena’s slapping of traffic enforcer Saturnino Fabros who accosted him for beating the red light. The incident was caught on video and went viral on the Internet.

Guadiz said the video would have been enough to prove Carabuena’s guilt, and the LTO has a legal basis to revoke his license.

LTO chief Virginia Torres removed Guadiz as LTO-NCR chief last November. He was designated head of the LTO’s Region 1 office.

“Slapping an officer of the law is a clear indication that Carabuena is unfit to drive. LTO has the obligation to remove unfit drivers from the road, and the agency should have revoked his license,” Guadiz said.

Torres recently ruled that Carabuena merely committed a traffic violation, and that there was no reason to revoke his license.

In the new decision, the LTO said Carabuena did not violate the Land Transportation and Traffic Code and that the incident was a “mere traffic violation, which does not merit the harsh penalty of revocation.”

"Nor was he guilty of operating or using a motor vehicle in, or as an accessory to, the commission of any crime or at which endangers the public,” the order read.