MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Saturday gave a piece of advice to former Army reservist Vhon Tanto, the suspect in the road rage killing of cyclist Mark Vincent Geralde.
Meeting Tanto at the Manila Police District headquarters on Saturday, Dela Rosa said Tanto should have practiced ''deep breathing'' when he figured in a road altercation with Geralde.
He also jokingly said that he will give Tanto boxing lessons, apparently after the latter suffered badly in the hands of the cyclist during their fistfight.
''Si Mr. Tanto, tuturuan ko ito ng boxing, kung paano sumuntok ng maganda. Kaya uminit ang ulo niya dahil natalo siya suntukan,'' Dela Rosa told Tanto.
''Hahamon hamon ka ng suntukan hindi mo pala kaya. Dapat magaling ka sumuntok. Hindi bale, tuturuan kita ha. Kung paano manuntok ng husto."
But Dela Rosa's advice may be too late for Tanto, as the latter is now facing charges over Geralde's death. He is also facing a frustrated homicide case after bystander Rocel Bondoc was hit by a stray bullet.
Tanto earned the public's ire when a CCTV footage surfaced showing him shooting Geralde several times following a fistfight on P. Casal Street.
After days in hiding, Tanto was taken into police custody in his wife's hometown in Milagros, Masbate.
SUSPECT SAYS VICTIM WAS ARROGANT
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Tanto admitted that his temper got the best of him when he repeatedly shot Geralde following a road altercation.
''Wala po akong intensyon. Nandilim lang ang paningin ko,'' he said.
Tanto claimed, Geralde acted arrogantly. He said Geralde's confrontational stance resulted in their fistfight and the fatal shooting.
He explained, the confrontation started when his car, a Hyundai Eon, and Geralde's bike nearly had a collision along Vergara Street.
''Binaba ko yung salamin sa kanang banda sabi ko, 'Kuya pasensya ka na kasi di ko naman sinasadya at tsaka di naman tayo nagpang-abot'. Sabi ko sa kanya dapat mag-iingat kayo kasi dapat ang bisikleta, sa gilid lang. Bigla akong minura, sabi niya 'G**o ka pala eh.' Sabi ko, Kuya, huwag kang magmura.' Hanggang sa patuloy pa rin ang pagmumura niya,'' Tanto said.
''Nung sinabi niya na, 'Gusto mo basagin ko pa ang salamin mo?' Dun na ako napikon. Tsaka may dugo na ako noon kasi may tumamang matigas na bagay sa akin. Kaya hilo hilo na ako noon."
Tanto claimed he tried to calm down Geralde by apologizing, but the latter still continued to curse him.
''Nag-sorry na ako sa kanya, minumura pa rin ako. Nag-pangabot na kami. Llamado siya, matangkad ba. Hanggang sa nilock niya [ang leeg ko]. Makikita naman po sa CCTV.
''Hindi ko masyadong maano ang hawak niyang matigas na bagay na tumama sa mukha ko kaya nahilo hilo ako. Hanggang sa ni-lock niya ang leeg ko. Nanghina ako. Binitawan na lang niya ako nung 'di na ako kumikilos, gumagalaw."
'PRACTICE ROAD COURTESY'
Meanwhile, Dela Rosa underscored the importance of practicing road courtesy and responsible gun ownership to avoid altercations that could lead to fatalities.
''Kung mayroon silang road courtesy, hindi sana sila nag-away. Saka yung patience, 'pag mainit ang ulo natin, tayong mga motorist, deep breathing lang ang katapat niyan. Wala na sanang barilan ang nangyari,'' he said.
He also highlighted the role of the public and private sector, as well as the media, in solving crimes.
He said the CCTV camera undoubtedly helped in identifying Tanto as the suspect in the road rage shooting. He said this case should encourage local government units to invest in more CCTV cameras.
"I am encouraging all local government units, lalong-lalo na sa mga lugar na matao, na sana mag-install na sila [ng CCTV cameras],'' he said.
''Iyung role ng media. Kaya yung media ay, awareness, level of awareness ng publiko, maraming nagcocooperate, maraming nagiging concern dahil sa media."