(Left photo) The vehicle after hitting a stockpile of rocks along the national highway in Barangay New Cuyo, Roxas. (Right photo) The stockpile is shown without early warning device. (Photos courtesy of Prof. Mae Fernandez-Legazpi)

A university professor has called out the personnel of the police station in Roxas town for failing to reply to their appeal for assistance and prompt inquiry into the road accident that occurred to them around 9 p.m. on Friday along the national highway in Barangay New Cuyo.

Prof. Mae Fernandez-Legazpi of Palawan State University (PSU), one of the victims of the road accident, claimed their vehicle hit a stockpile of rocks on the night of May 20 while driving through the barangay on their way home to Puerto Princesa City from El Nido.

She was with her son and personnel from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in Palawan who were injured in the accident allegedly caused by stockpiles that lacked any form of early warning mechanism.

“Last night, our van hit a stockpile of rocks na [naka pile] lang sa gitna ng lane, without any sort of early warning device. The van’s front was crumpled, and all of us inside suffered tremendous injuries. Mam Lilia Badajos suffered a fractured right arm; directly behind the driver were Dr. Sianita Tadlas of TESDA, who suffered extreme stomach pains, and Auntie Katz Timbancaya with chest pains. My son, Rafi suffered an excruciating blow to his jaw and chin, and Ms. Lagan could not move her neck,” Prof. Legazpi said in a social media post made public Saturday morning.

The photo shows the damaged bumper and hood of the van. (Photo courtesy of Prof. Mae Fernandez-Legazpi)

“With this, I am calling out the Roxas Police Station, especially to the officer/s on duty last night na ayaw magbigay ng pangalan, and were so discourteous, for their negligent response to the accident that happened to my son Raffy and to my companions last night sa Brgy. New Cuyo, Roxas, Palawan,” she added.

Prof. Legazpi accused the Roxas Municipal Police Station (MPS) of failing to go to the scene of the accident despite their driver personally seeking help.

She stated that the driver was told by a policeman who refused to give his name that the town did not have a mobile patrol car available and that they assumed it was merely a motorcycle accident.

“Hindi man lang kayo dumating sa scene ng aksidente, at nung pinuntahan kayo sa mismong station ng driver, sarado raw ang opisina niyo at sa bakod niyo lang raw siya kinausap. Sabi niyo pa walang mobile patrol na pwedeng pumunta?” she said.

“Pwede naman sigurong mag motor, hindi ba? At isa pa, akala niyo motor lang ang naaksidente kaya hindi niyo pinuntahan? Kawawa pala ang mga nakamotor sa Roxas, hindi n’yo pa pala pupuntahan pag naaksidente. Di na makatarungan yan. Nakakahiya kayo,” Prof. Legazpi added.

In a separate phone interview, Prof. Legazpi said that she was also the one who had to contact the Roxas MPS so that the accident could be investigated.

She said that the police personnel with whom she spoke over the phone informed her that since Rescue 165 responded first, it will be responsible for writing the police report.

“Itong morning tumawag ako uli. Ang sabi ko, puwede bang malaman kung sino yong naka duty kagabi between ganitong time para malaman ko kung talagang mayroong ano… tapos yong kausap ko ay ano ba yon… Austria ang apelyido. Sabi niya ‘pupunta na kami doon ngayon’. Sabi ko, ‘puwede bang malaman bakit hindi kayo pumunta kagabi?'” she said.

Instead of responding to her inquiry, she said that the policeman told her rudely to go to their station in Roxas if she wished to learn more about the accident, and then abruptly hung up on her.

“Yon talaga, ang angas niya. Tapos pinagbagsakan ako ng telepono. Ang sabi niya, ‘hindi ko na kayo kakausapin,'” she added.

She also blasted the road project’s contractor for neglecting to alert the public about the stockpiles ahead.

According to sources, Yurich is the contractor of the road project for the 1st Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in the province.

Prof. Legazpi further noted that they were fortunate to have photos of the accident since a construction worker attempted to belatedly set a warning device on the site as they were being transported to the hospital.

She also said that they learned the contractor visited the accident area “to inspect,” but no one reached out to them while they were still in two hospitals in Roxas receiving medical care.

“Calling out also the contractor na naglagay ng stockpiles ng bato sa gitna ng daan na wala man lang early warning device, na kinasalpok ng van naming at pinagmulan ng severe injuries ng aming mga kasama, tulad ng pagkabali ng balikat ng may ari ng van at ang pagkasira ng mismong sasakyan. Buti na lang napicturan na namin agad agad dahil may nag attempt na maglagay ng belated tarpaulin na warning device after kaming isugod sa ospital. Pero napakalate na,” she said.

“Bawal maglagay ng kahit anong obstruction sa gitna ng daan, nakalagay yan sa batas. Also, balita namin, pumunta ang team ninyo sa site upang mag inspect, pero hindi man lang kayo nag reach out habang nasa Roxas Baptist Hospital para kamustahin kami. Nagtatago ba kayo o nahihiya? Tingin niyo mawawala ang problema pag papabayaan lang?” Prof. Legazpi said.

Palawan News is now trying to contact the contractor about the issue, but Prof. Legazpi said someone from Yurich had already contacted her as of press time.

Prof. Legazpi said she will seek proper administrative actions against the Roxas police personnel to ensure the safety of traveling locals and tourists, and to uphold the standard of the provincial PNP.

She said among the passengers, Badajos was critically hurt and would need an operation due to a fractured arm.

Roxas MPS response
In response to the accusation, Roxas MPS chief P/Maj. Carlito Valdez stated that if people were to judge the situation based on Prof. Legazpi’s post, it would appear that they have made mistakes.

“Kung pagbabasehan natin ang bersyon ni maam at kung di talaga pinuntahan, which is hindi talaga pinuntahan, aminado ako may lapses talaga. Parang na kuwan talaga ako… na hindi pa nila ako nakukunan ng side, hindi pa nila alam kung ano ang nangyari ay na question na agad ang leadership ko,” he said.

Valdez explained that the station’s gate is always locked due to the chance that members of the rebel group will attempt to enter again like what happened in the past.

He added that he had already asked the police personnel on duty to explain what happened on the night of May 20, and why he wasn’t informed about it.

“Pinagagawa ko na ng explanation ang mga police on duty natin kagabi kung bakit hindi agad naaksyunan ang nangyari na yun, and kanina, na sinasabing nakasagot sa kanya (Prof. Legazpi) kung bakit ganun ang naging pagtrato niya doon sa tumawag na biktima,” he said.

“Pero base sa paliwanag ni Austria, parang hindi na din daw maayos ang tono ni ma’am. Pero ipinaliwanag ko na rin sa kanila na maaaring ganun nga ang naging attitude ni ma’am, kasi galing nga sa aksidente, normal na may ganung… pagtaas ng boses o ano pa man kasi may trauma pa yun sa aksidente dapat nagba-balance sila as police,” he added.

Valdez claimed that, as part of his leadership responsibilities, he is willing to be investigated in order to clarify what transpired and discipline the on-duty police officers for any possible negligence.

He reiterated that had he been informed, he would have told his police personnel to go to the area even if they have no mobile car available.

“Alam ng mga taga Roxas yan, na kahit personal service ko gagamitin ko para makapagresponde,” he said.

As of press time, Police Provincial Office (PPO) director P/Col. Adonis Guzman had already ordered an investigation into the matter and had asked the on-duty police personnel to explain their action.

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covers the police beat and other law enforcement agencies in the province. Her interest includes traveling and photography.