Latransco faces probe for ‘reckless driving’

SunStar Local News
SunStar Local News

THE father of the six-year-old boy, whose left hand was injured while riding a modern public utility jeepney (MPUJ) in Cebu City on Oct. 30, 2023, has filed a formal complaint against a Cebu City-based transportation firm with the Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas (LTO 7).

A hearing on the incident took place at the LTO 7 office in Cebu City last Wednesday, Nov. 8, following a show cause order issued by the agency against the transportation firm involved, the Lahug Apas Transport Cooperative (Latransco).

The issuance of the show cause order was prompted by an alleged case of reckless driving by a Latransco driver, posted by the child’s mother on Facebook.

The post has since gone viral with over 5,000 shares as of Sunday night, Nov. 12.

Viral post

Noynay Karina Romano, mother of the injured boy, said the MPUJ driver was speeding, abruptly slamming on the brakes, resulting in her child’s injury. She claimed she had asked the driver to take responsibility for the incident but was only told to report the incident to Latransco’s management.

Romano, in her post, said the Oct. 30 incident happened between 11:58 a.m. and 12 noon. She said even when they were still in Sudlon, Barangay Lahug, the driver was already driving fast.

She said the driver suddenly hit the brakes when they reached the front of the Social Security System office in downtown Cebu City, resulting in the hand injury of her son.

She said they, including some senior citizen passengers of the driver, decided to get off the MPUJ because they got scared.

“Palihug ko sa operator aning Latransco nga aircon bus. Disciplinaha na inyong mga drivers nga dili magpakusog ug dagan kay daghan maamong mga pasahero... giingnan rami sa driver aw report mo sa company namo,” read a portion of Romano’s post.

(To the operator of Latransco’s aircon bus, please discipline your drivers. Instruct them not to drive recklessly, as it puts many passengers at risk. Following the incident, the driver just told us to report him to his company.)

Following the incident, the LTO 7 asked Latransco’s management for a written response and explain why its driver or operator should not face administrative charges and why the driver’s license should not be suspended or revoked.

The MPUJ driver, along with several Latransco members, including a human resources representative and an information technology employee, attended the hearing last Wednesday.

Romano’s husband was also present to share his perspective on the incident with LTO 7 officers.

In the initial investigation, the father emphasized the importance of reporting the incident due to inadequate care received by his injured child.

Latransco argued that the parent was not holding the boy when the driver hit the brakes, supporting its claim with a closed-circuit television camera footage.

The father said besides his son, other passengers, including senior citizens, were also injured, but they chose not to report the incident.

In the investigation, LTO 7 questioned the driver about his actions and responsibilities in handling unexpected incidents while on duty.

The driver said he could not provide immediate assistance because he was concerned about leaving the MPUJ unattended since no public assistance officer or conductor was on duty at the time.

The LTO 7 asked the driver if he had attended seminars held by them and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7, and he confirmed that he had. The LTO 7 then emphasized the importance of having an assistant who collects fare during the trip. The driver said his assistant was on leave that day because of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections.

Driver’s license suspension

During the investigation, the driver was asked to surrender his driver’s license and advised to bring a copy of his official receipt and certificate of registration or OR/CR.

Since the incident involved a franchising company, the LTO referred the operator to the LTFRB for franchising-related sanctions.

LTFRB’s action

In a separate interview on Wednesday, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said they had already summoned Lantransco for this matter. They have a scheduled meeting with Latransco on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at their office for the investigation.

Montealto has requested a copy of the hearing resolution from the LTO 7 to avoid potential double jeopardy from holding the hearing twice.

He also said the parents could attend the scheduled hearing to represent their side.

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