ROAD bully. Liar. Mauler. Those are just some of the diatribes heaped by angry netizens on the driver of a Maserati who roughed up a traffic enforcer in Quezon City on Thursday, leaving him with a broken nose. The incident has triggered outrage and a manhunt for the driver, who has been identified as Joseph Russel Ingco. Interviewed on the phone during a TV newscast last Friday, Ingco said he was afraid for his safety but was willing to “face the consequences” of what he did.
The traffic aide, Jorbe Adriatico, said he was traumatized by the attack.
According to reports, Ingco was making an illegal turn when Adriatico spotted him and recorded the violation on his phone camera. That apparently did not sit well with the motorist. Ingco reportedly confronted Adriatico, grabbed his phone and punched him several times.
What triggered such a violent reaction? Did Ingco consider it an affront that a lowly traffic enforcer had the temerity to pull over someone who was driving a P7-million sports car? Ingco claims that Adriatico also assaulted him but until he turns himself in, he will have a hard time defending his story.
Reports have surfaced casting a shadow on Adriatico’s character, hinting that he was not exactly an upright person of authority. His boss, Manila Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino, has defended the enforcer, and is urging the Land Transportation Office to revoke Ingco’s driving license. If indeed, Adriatico was remiss in his duties, the motorist should have reported him, not break his nose.
The assault on the traffic aide is the latest glaring example of road rage, an explosion of violence that has become one of the daily hazards a motorist in Metro Manila must learn to cope with. According to angermanagementgroups.com, road rage “is an expression of an underlying problem with a driver…It isn’t the automobile or the other driver that brings out the aggressive nature. It is inside the person who, regardless of the setting fails to control his or her temper and simply explodes.”
More often than not, road rage is the unfortunate consequence of traffic altercations. angermanagementgroups.com says it erupts “when a driver reacts angrily to other drivers, cutting them off, tailgating, gesturing or waving a fist. At its worst, the angry driver may become more aggressive and try to kill or injure another driver.”
The violence turned fatal in November 2009, when Fil-American Jason Ivler shot and killed Renato Ebarle Jr., the son of a Malacañang official during a traffic confrontation in Quezon City. Ivler, the nephew of iconic singer Freddie Aguilar, went into hiding but was eventually arrested after a shootout with police in his house.
In another celebrated case of road fury turning deadly, businessman Rolito Go shot 25-year-old De La Salle University student Eldon Maguan in a one-way street in San Juan City in July 1991. Go, who was going the wrong way, got mad because Maguan refused to back up. The student died several days later. Go was eventually convicted of murder.
On the eve of All Saints’ Day in 1998, during a traffic argument inside the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City, Inocencio Gonzales pulled out a gun and fired at a van driven by Noel Andres, hitting Andres’ pregnant wife, Feliber, their two-year-old son and a nephew. Feliber Andres died a few days later. Gonzales was found guilty of murder and two counts of frustrated murder.
The object of John Russel Ingco’s fury was not another motorist, but a traffic enforcer. But that doesn’t change the fact that he went ballistic, and attacked another person. He broke the law, and he must answer for it.