‘Driver was speeding’

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RYAN Brecia, a passenger of the Don Mariano Transit bus that plunged from the elevated Skyway on Monday, said a last-minute seat switch saved him from certain death.

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Brecia, who was on his way to work in Muntinlupa City, said he boarded the bus and took a seat on the right side.

Minutes before the accident, he transferred to a left-side seat. He said many of those who died were seated on the right side.

“It was a miracle. I was seated near the bus conductor and I decided to switch seat before the bus plunged,” said Brecia in Filipino.

He suffered bruises and minor injuries on his right arm and chest.
Brecia said he crawled out of the window because he was afraid that the bus would explode.

He said that even before they reached the Skyway, the bus driver was already speeding. Brecia recalled that the driver had a hard time controlling the wheel because the bus was travelling so fast and the road was made slippery by the light rain.

“Then suddenly it rammed the Skyway railings and plunged onto a passing van,” he said.

Brecia said he was not sure if the driver was drunk or sleepy.

Irene Sisperez, who was driving on the Skyway, said the speeding bus passed her just before it plunged off.

“Nag-overtake sa akin ang Don Mariano bus. Nagku-kwentuhan kami ng anak ko. Sabi ko tingnan mo itong bus na ito hindi marunong sumunod. Ang speed ko 80 [kph]eh, nag-overtake siya sa akin so ang estimate namin 100 to 110 kph [ang bilis niya],” she said in a radio interview.

“Ilang meters pa lang, nakita ko biglang nahulog ang bus. Walang ibang sasakyan, ako lang talaga ang nasa likod niya eh,” Sisperez said.

She reported the incident when she reached the toll booth.

The wife of bus driver Carmelo Calatcat, 39, was inconsolable upon learning that her husband was fighting for life.

“She was crying non-stop when we informed her,” said Ronnie Laguis, 30, Calatcat’s brother-in-law said.

Laguis said he has yet to see Calatcat. “We are not allowed to get near him. He is in intensive care unit.”

He said Calatcat has four children, the eldest a fifth grader. He added that Calatcat’s wife, Ladylyn, 33, is praying that her husband will survive because he is the sole family provider.

Ladylyn lives in Dumaguete with her four kids. Calatcat, a bus driver for five years, stays with his relatives in Novaliches, Quezon City.
At least ten survivors, including Calatcat, were rushed to the Paranaque Doctors’ Hospital.

Two of the survivors are in critical condition—Calatcat and Rolando Valeroy, who was unable to talk.

The other victims who were taken to the Paranaque Doctors’ Hospital were Gilbert Montallana, 30, driver of an Elf van which also figured in the accident; Pepe Padilla, 54; Vengie Agbunag, 30, of Novaliches; Eric Balandia, 46, of Pandacan Manila; Ofelia Esneu, 54, of Batasan Hills, Quezon City; Fernando Talado, 38, of Novaliches; Dionisio Tasana, 40, of Antipolo City and Rebecca Tolentino, 43, of San Mateo, Rizal. Tolentino was discharged last night.

Jorge Zamora And Jaime R. Pilapil

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4 Comments

  1. sa ibang bansa may matatas na bakod o harang ang mga skyway,,para kung sakali na mawala ng control ang isang sasakyan may haharang.bakit satin wala nun jan sa skyway,ang mahal nila maningil pa naman,,tapos wala daw silang pananagutan sa nangyaring aksidente na ito, dapat may mag embistiga sa angulo na ito……..

  2. Install engine speed governor on all buses that would solve the bus problem, limit their speeds. Laying ground work for extending LRT trains and add cargo and area’s for small motorcycles the works, get these buses off the highways and onto the slower traffic road ways, it’s only a dream.

  3. First, it is about time that Congress pass a bill that will professionalized Professional Drivers by creating a Philippine Professional Driver’s Institute. The driver applying for professional driver’s should have these minimum requirements;
    1) He/ She must be at least 23 years old. high school graduate and must pass the entrance tests, physically and mentally fit……
    2) He/ She must have at least five years driving experience ( Junior Mechanical Engineer before they can take the Professional Mechanical Engineering exam must have a working experienced of three years as a junior engineer ) and should not been involved in any major accidents…..
    3) He/ She must pass study for at least six months and pass written and actual driving tests for heavy trucks and busses before he/ she will be issued a Professional Driver’s License.

    Secondly, all present bus and fleet operators must conduct a twice a year seminars to all their drivers on the “law of momentum and the principle of tire hydroplaning or aquaplaning”. The Skyway CCTV of Don Mariano Bus and the testimony of Mrs. Irene Sisperez clearly shows that the Don Mariano Bus Hydroplaned before it plunged from the skyway to the west service road. Hydroplaning or Aquaplaning occurs when tires of speeding vehicle lose traction on a wet roadway causing it to drift like a plane and the driver lose control of the vehicle. Don Mariano’s Bus tires are bald ( KALBO ) and should not be allowed to run specially in the skyway)

    Third, the Skyway should prohibit trucks and busses from using the skyway from 10pm- 6 am as they don’t have manpower to control speeding vehicles.