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Who was at fault?

Egay Uy .

DESPITE the request to hold comments regarding the incident involving an ambulance driver and a traffic law enforcer at Osmena St. corner Recto Ave. a few days ago, I had to inquire from those who have done their own snooping around, so to speak.

No, I did not get any piece of information from the organic head of office. I expected him to be around during the flag raising ceremony at City Hall so he could provide some insights but as usual he was nowhere to be found.

From various sources, I have gathered that the ambulance was going towards the west cruising along Recto Ave. and using the rightmost lane.  At that time, the traffic along Recto has not moved. As expected, motorcycles have converged at the pedestrian lane and even blocked the rightmost lane of the highway.

The ambulance driver reportedly wanted to pass as a priority vehicle. In so doing, he pointed to the motorcycles that blocked his lane and wanted the traffic law enforcer to direct traffic so the ambulance could pass. A few seconds later, the ambulance was able to pass Osmena St. going towards west.

While passing, the ambulance driver reportedly kept on pointing to the traffic law enforcer probably wanting to make a point why the traffic law enforcer did not assist the ambulance so it could pass ahead of the other vehicles. We all know that ambulances are among the priority vehicles on the road.

Because of the “pointing incident” the traffic law enforcer reportedly slapped the ambulance as it passed him (enforcer). Because of that, when the ambulance was already in front of La Cabana which is about 15 to 20 meters from the corner of Osmena and Recto, the ambulance driver stopped, got off, and walked back towards the traffic law enforcer.

That was when the delivery of the patient in the ambulance got more delayed. The ambulance driver, as the video would show us, demanded for the traffic law enforcer’s identification. In fact, we could all see that it was the traffic law enforcer that showed his identification card to the ambulance driver, not the latter showing his driver’s license to the former.

The sad thing is that the patient whom the ambulance was tasked to take to the hospital expeditiously was reported later to have expired at the hospital. We cannot yet surmise that the delay caused by the altercation between the ambulance driver and the traffic law enforcer has contributed to the demise of the patient.

But probably we can ask, “Was the ambulance driver justified in stopping a few meters ahead and in walking back towards the traffic law enforcer to confront the latter despite the presence of a patient under his care?”

I will reserve my opinion on this until after the investigation conducted by RTA’s Doy Ramiro will have been officially completed and a full report officially released.

(Egay Uy is a lawyer. He chairs the City’s Regulatory and Complaint Board, co-chairs with the city mayor the City Price Coordinating Council, and chairs the city’s Joint Inspection Team. He is also a former overseer of the Roads and Traffic Administration. He retired as a vice president of Cepalco.)

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