Man holds jeepney passengers hostage in 15-minute ordeal on Marcelo Fernan Bridge

Man holds jeepney passengers hostage in 15-minute ordeal on Marcelo Fernan Bridge
File photo

AROUND 10 modern public utility jeepney (MPUJ) passengers, including children, were trapped in a 15-minute hostage situation on a section of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge early Thursday morning, December 28, 2023.

Isidro De la Cruz, 38, the MPUJ driver, said they were headed to the Marcelo Fernan Bridge when one of his passengers seemingly declared a hostage situation and brought out a kitchen knife.

The MPUJ was plying from Lapu-Lapu City to a mall in Mandaue City and vice versa.

The circumstance caused panic among other passengers when the alleged hostage-taker instructed them not to get out of the jeep.

De la Cruz said he quickly asked for help and told a fellow driver who passed by the bridge to call the police.

He said the guy boarded within the Mactan Newtown area and seated at the cornermost portion of the jeep. He said he did not find him suspicious, except he kept delaying his disembarkment.

"Pag-una, ana siya may 7-Eleven (convenience store) siya naog, dayon ana siya may Total (gas station) na lang. Dayon, ana nasad siya nga sa may dulhog nalang sa bridge. Adto na siya miingon nga walay manganaog," De la Cruz said.

(At first, he said he would disembark at a 7-Eleven. Then, later on, he said he would go down at a Total. The passenger then said he would step off at the end of the bridge. It was there when he said that no one should leave the jeep.)

He also clarified that the passenger did not harm his fellow passengers nor take any of their belongings.

Not drunk

Police Lieutenant Colonel Jose Rovic Villarin, Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) deputy city director for operations, said that based on their initial investigation, the alleged hostage-taker also showed no signs that he was under the influence of any alcoholic drinks.

MCPO withheld the passenger's identity for security purposes.

Villarin said the passenger is 46 years old and disclosed during an interview that he had not slept for four days. He added that the man seemed problematic during the interview with the police.

'Tough times'

In a separate interview with the media, the hostage-taker said that he had been going through tough times.

He said he does not have a family, wife and children.

The man also apologized for threatening other passengers for his behavior.

"I have no intention of harming other people. Please forgive me (to other passengers)," he said.

Villarin said they have yet to discuss whether they will pursue filing a case or have him undergo rehabilitation, which may include a possible drug test, considering his mental health situation.

Meanwhile, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Central Visayas Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said that the MPUJ driver would be required to report to their office for a statement on what happened, as they initiate an investigation into the incident.


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