Contributed photo shows a Partas bus (left), which collided with a jeepney in Agoo, La Union early yesterday. All the 20 fatalities were in the private jeepney, which was on its way to the Our Lady of Manaoag church in Pangasinan for a Christmas Day mass. File
AGOO, La Union, Philippines — The police will file various criminal charges against the driver of the Partas commuter bus that collided head-on with a private jeepney, leaving 20 people dead and 26 others injured at dawn on Christmas Day in Barangay San Jose Sur here.
Senior Insp. Eugene Balagot, Agoo deputy police chief, yesterday said cases of reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and damage to property and physical injury would be filed against driver Rodel Sadac of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.
Sadac is now in the custody of the Agoo police.
Balagot said they are still waiting for the result of the autopsy on Roland Perez, the jeepney driver, to determine if he was drunk at the time of the accident.
Investigation showed that the jeepney encroached onto the lane of the bus, causing the collision.
The jeepney had 30 passengers on their way to attend mass in Manaoag, Pangasinan when the driver allegedly tried to overtake another vehicle along the national highway but miscalculated the distance of the fast approaching bus.
\The injured victims were now all in stable condition and recuperating at the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City.
The remains of the 20 fatalities are at the barangay hall of Barangay Pilar where they had resided.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) yesterday issued a 30-day preventive suspension order against Partas bus company after the accident in Agoo.
The LTFRB will serve a copy of the suspension order today. The order becomes effective upon receipt of the bus firm.
The order covers one franchise involving seven units. Partas has a total of 29 franchises covering 187 units nationwide.
LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said they grounded the bus company’s operation covering the route from Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte to Sampaloc, Manila after Partas management failed to submit the dashcam card and GPS data of its unit involved in the mishap.
“The violation of Partas why it was issued a suspension order is for its failure to comply with the directive of the board considering that 36 hours have passed since the road crash,” Lizada said.
Lizada said a representative from Partas told her the bus company has yet to recover the dashcam.
The LTFRB earlier gave Partas until noon yesterday to submit the needed data but what the bus firm gave was footage of a closed-circuit television camera inside the involved unit.
Sen. Grace Poe renewed her call for the creation of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) that would conduct an independent investigation on transport-related accidents on land, air, maritime and rail.
Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, was saddened by the deaths resulting from the accident. – Emmanuel Tupas, Paolo Romero