The criminal charges against the driver of the Don Mariano Transit bus that fell off the Skyway will be pursued even if he has died.
Police Chief Supt. Arrazad Subong, director of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) said the case against the driver, Carmelo Calatcat, will push through.
“The criminal case will push through for the determination of guilt of the driver but of course the penalty of imprisonment will not be served by him,” Subong told The Manila Times in a text message.
Calatcat, 39, died Monday night at the Parañaque Doctors Hospital from his injuries.
Eighteen people were killed in the incident on the elevated highway on the South Luzon Expressway on December 16. The driver was among those badly injured.
Calatcat was conscious but could not speak because he was breathing through a ventilator.
Police investigators failed to draw any information about the accident from him.
Calatcat and the bus owner were charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide, multiple physical injuries and damage to property.
Subong said the determination of the driver’s guilt is crucial to the civil case filed against the bus owner.
“The determination of guilt is material to the civil damages that the driver will be paying for the properties, but since he died, the bus operator will shoulder since Don Mariano is liable for the damages,” he said.
The incident prompted the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ground all of Don Mariano’s 78 buses for 30 days.
RITCHIE A. HORARIO