Owner of bus firm in deadly Mindoro mishap surrenders

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2018 08:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 24 2018 12:36 PM

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The owner of bus firm Dimple Star Transport surrendered to police Friday night, three days after one of its buses figured in a fatal accident in Occidental Mindoro. 

Hilbert Napat, accompanied by his lawyer Samuel Rufino Turgano, surrendered to the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) in Camp Crame, Quezon City. 

“Voluntary silang pumunta dito sa CIDG at nang sa gayon ay napakaaaga natin masisimulan ang dapat natin gagawin para ikakatuwa ng mga nasaktan lalo na ng pamilya ng 19 na namatay,” CIDG Director Roel Obusan said.

Obusan said Napat's surrender to authorities shows cooperation.

“Pag-usapan yung mga facts, circumstances na pwede nilang madadala or dala na nila ngayon. Alam naman ninyo yung pagreport nila dito para ipakita na voluntary pagpunta dito at cooperative sila pagpunta rito para maimbestigahan," he said.

"Kapag mamaya ay makita natin na kinakailangan sila i-hold dito iho-hold natin, pero kapag makita natin na kailangan nila umuwi para kumuha ng mga ibang ebidensya...para matapos ang imbestigasyon ay pauuwin natin siguro kasi as of now wala pa tayong kaso na idedemanda sa kanila,” he added. 

The CIDG said it is studying which case to file against Napat. 

“Pag iisipan ko yan kapag nasimulan nating pagtagpi-tagpiin ang mga pangyayari pero definitely ang batas ng law on common carriers at mga related na batas para dyan ay aming pagtutuunan ng pansin kung anuman ang violation,” Obusan explained. 

Napat is scheduled to give his statement with the help of his lawyer. 

This followed President Rodrigo Duterte's order earlier Friday for authorities to take custody of Dimple Star's owner after its bus fell into a ravine in Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro Tuesday night, leaving 19 people dead and 21 others wounded. 

Duterte issued the order as he visited the crash site, met with survivors of the incident, and condoled with relatives of those who perished. 

Initial investigation showed that the driver lost control while traversing the national highway on Tuesday.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has suspended for 30 days the operations of Dimple Star's 118 buses.

Prior to this, the LTFRB suspended 10 Dimple Star buses plying the San Jose, Occidental Mindoro-Manila route, the same route as the ill-fated bus. --With reports from Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News