PERSONNEL of the Talomo police filed charges before the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office against a taxi driver accused of robbing his passenger.

Charged with robbery under the Revised Penal Code, was identified as Santos Descallar Diez, 53, of Barangay Tigatto in Buhangin this city.

The suspect was charged based on the complaint filed by the victim Jesus Famacion Dizon II, 39, a pastor of the Victory Christian Fellowship in Central Park in Bangkal.

Diez, who said he has been a taxi driver for 19 years, has denied the accusation.

The police brought the suspect before Prosecutor Panfilo Junior R. Lovitos around 9 a.m. Tuesday for inquest proceedings. Dizon, in his sworn statement, said that when he arrived at Davao City International Airport around 8 p.m. from Manila Saturday evening, he boarded a Krizia taxicab with plate number LXE·74, and took the front seat.

He said he asked the driver to drop him at Malindang Street at Central Park Phase 2 in Bangkal. "When we reached the intersection almost close to the Commission on Audit (COA) building, and while the taxi was idle on red traffic signal, I felt unusual irritation in my eyes induced by an unknown substance and felt drowsy, and then I fell asleep," Dizon said in his affidavit.

"When I woke up, I was surprised to find myself lying in a muddy and grassy portion on a road and unfamiliar place, that my eyesight was already blurred and my eyes were swollen. I noticed that my personal belongings were missing," he added.

Dizon said he could not find his white gold wedding ring worth P7,500; messenger bag worth P1,500; brown Rusty Lopez shoes worth P2,000; brown belt worth P800; eyeglass worth P7,000; one polo shirt, gray t-shirt and brief, all worth P2,000; and Samsung phone worth P10,000, among others.

"After regaining consciousness, I stood up and walked heading towards the main highway and read a signage indicating that I am already at Hill Crest subd. on Diversion Road [in Buhangin], Davao City. I rode another taxi to drop me home," Dizon said.

Dizon together with his sister Janalyn Campos and her husband Randy Campos went to Talomo police on Sunday around 1:05 a.m. to formally file a complaint against the accused, prompting the police to conduct a follow-up investigation.

The police were able to identify the accused after they went to the office of the Krisha taxi on Diversion Road in Maa.

The police contacted the phone number of the accused, but the latter turned off his phone.

Police Officer 1 (PO1) Ariel Ocampo of the Talomo police said the accused showed up at Talomo police around 10 a.m. Sunday to clear his name. But the complainant positively identified him as the driver of the taxi he boarded, prompting the police to arrest and detain the accused.

Diez, on the other hand, denied the accusation hurled against him by the complainant. He said he dropped his passenger in Buhangin because Dizon told him that he wanted to bet at a lotto station in the area.

He said he even told Dizon that it was already past 8 p.m. and the Lotto has an early cut off. He added that the complainant flagged down his taxi at around 8 p.m. at the airport.

Diez said he even returned to the airport because there was another flight that was arriving. He also said that the complainant was not asleep during their entire trip, and he had never robbed a passenger.

However, Danao dismissed Dizon’s denial. “Sabi ng taxi driver, hinatid niya somewhere sa may Buhangin at mag patad ng lotto. Pero tapos na ang cut off time nun. So tingnan niyo sa dalawang iyon, sino mas ironic?”

However, Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) head Retired General Francisco Villaroman said the PSSCC cannot provide any CCTV footage regarding the claim of the taxi driver that the victim disembarked in Buhangin.

“It is possible but we can't find any in our files so far... We will try to help and assist too based on our mandate to give a fair opportunity to everyone in the discharge of our duties,” Villaroman said in a post at the PSSCC Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Mayor Rodrigo Duterte commended on Monday the authorities for the immediate resolution to the case. He also chided taxi drivers for its illegal activities.

“Remember yang dina drive ninyo is a taxi. Yang sumasakay sa inyo nasa likod mo. Siguraduhin nyo lang walang magalit sa iyo kasi all this time nasa front seat ka. Baka sunod na ihungit sa ulo mo 45 (caliber) na, (expletive) kayo. Huwag niyo yan gawin dito, mamatay talaga kayo,” Duterte said Monday.

“Kayong mga taxi driver, dapat mabait talaga kayo. Be respectful. And do your living clean,” he said.

Meanwhile, authorities were able to view the CCTV footage when the victim arrived at the airport around 7:56 p.m. on Saturday. The victim waited for a cab at the waiting area and further proceeded to Hill Crest subd. on Diversion Road.

Netizen’s take

PSSCC head Retired General Francisco Villaroman posted two clips of the CCTV footage at the airport, which gained various comments from netizens.

Netizen Nicee Lao said, “How come nibalik pa ang driver sa Airport after sa pastor na pasahero? Makita man pud ni sa cctv dba? Ang interval sa time? Imagine 17-19 yrs na sya na taxi driver? Ive heard na dili uniformed ang story sa pastor.. I hope mugawas ang tinuod na story..”

Another netizen Yami Bugoy commented, “The modus is a fast way of robbing a person. You don't need much time to do the crime. dinhi sa manila, saun ra kau na buhaton sa mga drivers. saun ra ka idam-ok sa daplin nya mularga na daun nga murag way nahitabo. he said he passed out or whatever you call it and can't even remember everything. If you were drugged or something, you will be helpless in less than a minute.”

“As long hindi naiistaablished na may chemical sa loob ng taxi dahilan para madiin ang driver wala pang guilty...iwas muna tayo sa paghusga dahil trial by publicity po nangyayari...isa lang sigurado may nabiktima pero kailangan mapalaliman pa ang imbestigasyon ano ba talaga nangyari,” netizen Xe Ro said.

“Daghanag abogado diri uie,” Yami Bugoy said. “Daghan na kau speculations nga nang gawas diri nga thread without proof. #justsaying.”