MANILA – A criminal charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide has been filed against Richard Gutierrez before the Municipal Trial Court of Silang, Cavite in connection with the May 22 vehicular accident in the province that killed the actor’s personal assistant.
In a phone interview with ABS-CBN News, Cavite Provincial Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said the case was filed Friday afternoon.
“Last Friday, nag-file na kami ng case against actor Richard Gutierrez... Friday iyong deadline na binigay na period para makapag-amicable settlement sila. Nothing happened,” Velasco said.
The case was lodged with the court after the provincial prosecutors found merit to the complaint filed by Nomar Pardo’s widow, Lorayne, against the actor. Lorayne blamed Gutierrez’s alleged utter disregard of traffic rules for the death of her husband.
“Within 30 days ise-set na ng husgado [ang kaso]... magi-issue ng warrant of arrest against the accused, Richard Gutierrez. [The court will set] bail at P30,000. Then after iyong payment ng bail, [ise-set] ang arraignment niya,” Velasco said.
The Cavite Provincial Prosecutors Office, however, dismissed Lorayne's claim that the actor abandoned her husband, saying there was no basis for such allegation.
Lorayne claimed that Gutierrez immediately boarded a GMA 7 van and left Nomar who was gravely injured but still alive at that time. Nomar was later pronounced dead on arrival at Adventist University Hospital in Silang, Cavite.
But Velasco argued that, even if it was true that the actor immediately proceeded to the nearest hospital for medical attention, such act could not be taken against him.
“Human experience has time and again demonstrated that the instinct to survive is paramount,” Velasco said.
Likewise, he noted that there were witnesses who told investigators that Gutierrez did not immediately left the scene of the accident.
“On the contrary, respondent tried to look for Nomar Pardo in the ravine, which was so dark at the time. Respondent left the scene in order to seek medical attention only upon being assured that the other persons have joined in the efforts to look for Pardo,” Velasco added.
In a six-page resolution, Velasco found that Gutierrez drove his Nissan Skyline GTR sports car “to mind-boggling speeds at the time of the accident.”
Citing Republic Act 4136 of the Traffic Code of the Philippines, Velasco said the maximum speed set in national highways like the Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Road, the site of the accident, is merely 80 kilometers per hour.
Based on the pictures of the wreckage, the provincial prosecutors said they “could not help but conclude that the car was driven way above 80 kilometers per hour.”
“This office also notes that the car fist slammed to a concrete Meralco post breaking it in two, then hit three coconut trees, which had two of its top cut off from its trunk. Thereafter, the car rested on the side of the road some 75 meters from the initial point of impact. Again this clearly points to the fact that respondent drove the car to mind-boggling speeds at the time of the accident,” the resolution said.
The prosecutors also noted that the road is a curve-way, thus, a prudent man should slow down while driving on the said road.
They said the respondent “did not exercise proper prudence and slow down as he approached the curve way.”
“The distance of the car from the point of impact, the broken trees, and broken Meralco post all point to the fact that the respondent was reckless and negligent while driving that night,” the resolution stated.
Velasco also said the actor should not be driving at that time of the night especially after working for several hours. Gutierrez and his companions just came from a taping when the car accident occurred around 1:30 a.m.
“Despite that fact, nag-drive pa din siya in the late hour. Dapat may driver siya. So, ang legal presumption, nagkaroon ng recklessness sa kaniya. Dapat nagpapahinga na siya that time,” Velasco said.
The provincial prosecutors also gave weight to the findings of the traffic police investigators, who concluded that Gutierrez was negligent at the time of the accident.
Velaso, meanwhile, slammed the Silang police for failing to pursue a case against the actor.
“Dapat automatic yan. Kapag may aksidente, may namatay, mayroong nasira, dapat nag-arrest ang mga police doon. Pero walang ginawa ang police,” he said.
He also scored Superintendent Danilo Buentipo, Silang police chief, for failing to produce and turn over the police report on the accident.
“We called the attention of the provincial police director of Cavite then pero napalitan na. And we are demanding an investigation on that matter. Clearly, may kalokohan na nangyari dito sa part ng kapulisan,” he added.