When Marcelino Denila left his house, he probably had no inkling that he would cause a vehicular accident that would result in the death of two people.
But that’s exactly what happened past noon on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.
According to initial investigation, Denila, who was behind the wheel of his sports utility vehicle, was traveling down Osmeña Blvd. when he rammed into a traditional public utility jeepney (PUJ) driven by Reynante Sumayang.
The news report wasn’t clear if Sumayang’s PUJ was on the opposite lane or if Denila’s vehicle hit the motorcycle that carried the two persons who later died in the hospital. What was evident was that Denila also hit the PUJ driven by Jonel Sabredo. The last to be struck was a private vehicle driven by Alex Precillas.
In an interview with radio dyHP, Denila admitted that he lost control of his vehicle after he struck the first PUJ.
“Una ko naigo atong puti nga PUJ. Mao to na ratol lagi ko, dili gyud malikayan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sumayang and Sabredo both told investigators that Denila was speeding, which would explain why so much damage was caused during and after the impact, and why the two fatalities were thrown off their motorcycle and ended up under Sumayang’s PUJ.
Denila will be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injury and damage to property.
But that’s no consolation to the families left behind by the driver of the motorcycle and his female passenger whose lives were cut short by Denila’s momentary lapse of judgment.
I was at the scene a few minutes after the whole thing happened.
I felt bad for the traffic enforcer, who, according to her, was recently assigned to the area. She was frantically looking for other traffic enforcers. Apparently, she was alone and she had just attended to another accident when the multiple-vehicle collision happened.
Several police officers were manning traffic since the accident took place right in front of the Police Regional Office 7 headquarters.
I couldn’t help but overhear the theories some bystanders had come up with to explain the mayhem.
But one stood out.
A security guard blamed the lack of barriers on the wide thoroughfare, which happens to be the site of the ongoing implementation of the first package of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) that stretches from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave. to the front of the Capitol building.
To those who are familiar with the area, there used to be orange thingies (I don’t know what they are called) that kept vehicles out of the dedicated lanes of the CBRT, or what is now the middle of the boulevard. Hence, collisions were almost next to impossible and rear-enders were scarce since traffic moved at a snail’s pace.
But that all changed when barriers were removed to pave the way for activities related to the Fiesta Señor and the Sinulog last January.
Anyway, I also think the removal of the old traffic light at the junction of Osmeña Blvd. and R.R. Landon St. had something to do with it.
The fact that the accident took place a few meters from the crossing is very telling.
You see, the old traffic light had a left-turn signal. So those who wanted to make a left turn waited for the light to turn green. Now it has become a free-for-all.
I should know since I walk that route almost every day to the office on P. del Rosario St. from Urgello.
In fact, I almost got run over by a motorcycle that was making a left to R.R. Landon even though the light was red.
At any rate, Thursday’s accident should serve as a reminder to all motorists, especially drivers of modern jeepneys that barrel up and down the boulevard like they were the only ones on the street, that no good will come from speeding in the city center.