BATANGAS CITY, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Seven people, including 3 minors, died when their passenger jeepney collided with a passenger bus and a car along the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road (STAR) tollway in Ibaan town, Batangas province on Sunday afternoon, police said.
The fatalities were identified as couple Francisco and Joselyn Festijo, their 2 sons Laurenz, 2 and Jermel, 10; Elizardo Festijo, Maricris Festijo, and jeep driver Zosimo Festijo. All were residents of Rizal province.
Four others were injured, according to Senior Superintendent Alberto Supapo, Batangas police director.
Frank Ace Festijo, Marilyn Festijo, Annabel Festijo, and Aaron Festijo are now undergoing treatment at the Batangas Regional Hospital in Batangas City.
Lawyer Genalyn Bagun of the Laguna vice-governor’s office who was onboard the black Nissan Sentra car with plate number SFB-447, escaped unscathed from the accident.
A south-bound passenger bus Gasat Express (plate number TYK-287) was cruising along the Star tollway when the bus driver, Aurelio Doctora, tried to overtake Bagun’s car at KM 98 in Barangay Quilo, Ibaan Batangas around 12:30p.m., according to Senior Police Officer 4 Nelio Lopez, chief investigator of the Ibaan police.
The bus hit the rear portion of Bagun’s car when he swerved to the opposite direction. The bus then rammed into the oncoming passenger jeepney (with plate number PET- 814) killing 6 of its passengers instantly.
A bus passenger, Daniel Malicsi, he said they were cruising in an average speed when their driver tried to overtake the car in front.
“Hindi naman mabilis ang takbo namin, ang mabilis ay ang jeeney na kasalubong namin kaya kami nabangga” Malicsi told ABS-CBN News.
Malicsi added that the car seems having a mechanical trouble before the accident happened.
“Pahinto-hinto ang kotse sa harap namin na parang nasiraan kaya inobertakan ng driver namin,” he added.
Malicsi said they were enroute to Iloilo from Cubao via Nautical Highway when the accident occurred.
Martin Bagui, a relative of the fatalities, said his family members celebrated the New Year in their house in Barangay Tingga Itaas in Batangas City and were on their way home.
“Nakakalungkot kasi taon-taon silang nag cecelebrate ng New Year dito sa amin at papauwi na sana sila kasi may pasok na bukas,” Bagui said.
The bus driver was brought to Ibaan police station for investigation.
He could face charges of reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple serious physical injuries and damage to property. – With reports from Sarita Kare, ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog; ANC