In a recent development, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has taken decisive action by imposing a 90-day preventive suspension on the driver’s license of an individual whose involvement in a gun-related road rage incident went viral in Quezon City. The incident, which occurred on August 8, showcased an alarming display of aggression when the driver, Wilfredo Gonzales, struck a bicyclist and subsequently brandished a firearm.

Vigor Mendoza II, the Chief of the LTO, shed light on the reasons behind this suspension, clarifying that it serves as a temporary measure while an ongoing investigation is conducted to ascertain whether Wilfredo Gonzales’ driver’s license should be permanently revoked. Mendoza emphasized that this suspension is not a final verdict, and the decision will be informed by the outcome of the comprehensive probe.

Mendoza asserted, “This immediate action by the LTO is aimed at preventing any potential recurrence of such an incident. It’s important to understand that this suspension is not definitive; rather, it is contingent on the findings of our ongoing investigation. Depending on these results, we may consider revoking his driver’s license.”

Earlier, the Philippine National Police (PNP) took the step of revoking Gonzales’ gun permits. Gonzales, who had been dismissed from the police force in 2018, was found to be in possession of three firearms at the time of the road rage confrontation.

The basis for the suspension of Gonzales’ driver’s license lies in the authority vested in the LTO under Section 27 of Republic Act 4136, commonly known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Furthermore, Mendoza divulged that a Show Cause Order had been issued to Gonzales on August 28, mandating his appearance before LTO investigators. He was required to present a notarized explanation defending himself against potential penalties.

While the video footage of Gonzales’ reprehensible behavior is incontrovertible evidence of his actions, Mendoza highlighted the importance of upholding due process within the legal framework. Mendoza stated, “Even in light of the evidence, we must honor the principles of due process and fairness that are integral to our legal system. However, during the investigation’s pendency, Mr. Wilfredo Gonzales’ driving privileges will be temporarily suspended for the span of 90 days, unless the matter is resolved earlier.”

The PNP’s decision to revoke Gonzales’ gun permits underscores the gravity of the situation. A former police officer who was dismissed from the force in 2018, Gonzales’ possession of three firearms during the altercation added a dangerous dimension to the road rage incident.

In addition to addressing this specific incident, the broader issue of responsible gun ownership has been brought to the forefront. For individuals who own firearms, there are essential responsibilities that must be upheld to ensure the safety of both the gun owner and the community at large. Here are ten key responsibilities that every gun owner should prioritize:

Training and Competence: Gun owners should undergo thorough training to become proficient in the safe handling, operation, and storage of firearms.

Adherence to Laws: Abiding by local, state, and national laws pertaining to gun ownership, possession, and use is crucial.

Secure Storage: Guns should be stored in a secure manner, preferably in a locked container or safe, to prevent unauthorized access.

Regular Maintenance: Guns should be well-maintained to ensure proper functioning and safety.

Awareness of Surroundings: Gun owners should be conscious of their surroundings and exercise caution to prevent accidents or misunderstandings.

Controlled Access: Firearms should only be accessible to the gun owner or authorized individuals, minimizing the risk of misuse.

Ethical Use: Guns should only be used in situations where self-defense or protection is warranted, and the use of force is justified.

Avoiding Impairment: Guns should not be handled when under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any substance that impairs judgment.

Responsible Display: Public display of firearms should be avoided to prevent unnecessary panic or alarm.

Reporting Loss or Theft: If a firearm is lost or stolen, the owner should report it to the appropriate authorities promptly.

As the investigation into the road rage incident continues, the actions taken by both the LTO and the PNP underscore the importance of responsible behavior, accountability, and adherence to the law. While the video footage provides a stark portrayal of the incident, it also serves as a reminder of the necessity for gun owners to fulfill their responsibilities to ensure the safety and well-being of the community.