Fermina bus lines face 1-month suspension over Nov.1 NLEX accident

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2008 09:30 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2008 07:40 AM

The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has meted a one-month suspension against the Fermina Bus Express Co., which was involved in a collision with an Asian Utility Vehicle (AUV) that left five dead and 51 others injured along North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on November 1.

LTFRB Chairman Thomson Lantion said the suspension, which covers Fermina’s operation in Metro Manila and Northern Luzon, will take effect on Monday.

"Preventive po ito para ‘di na makagawa pa ng [aksidente]," said Lantion.

The LTFRB also said that Fermina bus driver Bernard Santos could face a six-month to one-year suspension over the accident.

This is aside from the charges being prepared against him by the Malabacat police. Investigators said Santos is liable for damage to properties, multiple homicide and physical injuries.

Santos, however, remained comatose since the accident.

Meanwhile, some of the passengers who were injured in the accident defended the bus driver.

Victim Benjamin de los Santos said he is not mad at Santos.

"Nasama din naman siya sa aksidente, hindi naman niya kagustuhan iyon," he said.

The accident took place in Barangay Sta. Ines, Mabalacat town, along the North Luzon Expressway in Pampanga on Saturday.

According to Inspector Robert Manaloto of the Mabalacat, Pampanga Police, the driver and passenger of the AUV died in the collision that occurred past 11 a.m.

Investigators said the bus smashed into the AUV after it overtook the vehicle ahead of it. The bus was headed for San Carlos, Pangasinan while the AUV was headed toward Manila.

Based on the extent of the damage to both vehicles, investigators say the bus and the AUV were travelling more than 100 kph.

The driver of the AUV has been identified as a priest, Father Domingo Moraleda. Authorities asked that the identity of the female passenger be witheld since her family has yet to be contacted.

Three female bus passengers died; only one of the three has been identified. The remains of bus passenger Aurelia Morteria are now in the morgue of the San Rafael Hospital in Mabalacat.

The remains of the two other unidentified female fatalities are in the E.D. Punzalan Funeral Home in San Fernando, Pampanga. With a report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News