Driver, congressman's son go to court over traffic row

From a report by Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 04 2013 08:33 PM | Updated as of Nov 05 2013 04:33 AM

MANILA - A jeepney driver and the son of Batangas 3rd District Rep. Nelson “Sonny” Collantes are set to file charges against each other over an October 29 traffic altercation that led to the congressman's son hitting the driver.

Barangay Kapitolyo chairman Noel Pajara said jeepney driver Orlando Garcia, 66, and lawyer King George Leandro Antonio Collantes refused to settle their differences during mediation proceedings at the barangay. Instead, both sides insisted on filing charges against each other.

"Binigyan ko na pareho ng certificate to file action in court, sa korte nalang sila pareho magharap," he said.

However, he also noted that Collantes should not have punched the elderly jeepney driver.

A cellphone video earlier showed Collantes confronting Garcia in the middle of San Rafael Street in Barangay Kapitolyo for refusing to let Collantes' Nissan Patrol pass.

At one point, Garcia hit Collantes' cellphone, causing it to fall on the ground. The congressman's son then punched the jeepney driver twice before he was stopped.

Garcia said the punches caused his left eyelid to start bleeding. He also accused the congressman's son of threatening to shoot him.

Garcia said Collantes is threatening to sue him for grave threat and damage to property for the damage to his cellphone.

"Ang ikakaso daw sa akin ay grave threat tsaka damage to property dahil nasira ko raw 'yung cellphone niya," he said.

Collantes did not give a statement, saying: "Let's see what will happen in the coming days."

The jeepney driver said he will file charges of grave threat and physical injury against Collantes.

He said he will also file child abuse charges against Collantes. Garcia's 9-year-old grandchild was with him when the incident happened, causing the child to suffer from trauma.

Garcia will also file a disbarment complaint against Collantes before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and ask the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to cancel the latter's driver's license.