Taxi driver attacks passenger with a katana; LTFRB raises alarm over violent drivers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Following a series of incidents involving arrogant cab drivers, a taxi driver allegedly attacked his passenger with a katana on Wednesday night (January 13) in Quezon City.

According to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) report, the suspect identified as Manuel Publico tried to hit complainant Bayani Arradza with a katana, after a heated argument. Luckily, Arradza evaded the attack. 

Arradza and his 10-year-old son boarded Publico’s taxi at UP Bliss, Quezon City at around 6:40 p.m. He asked the suspect to take them to Project 4, also in Quezon City.

However, Arradza noticed they were plying the route going to Cubao instead, prompting him to confront Publico.

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The two got into an argument, the police report said, and Publico got irked, stopped the cab and asked his passengers to alight. He then reached for the sword and tried to hit Arradza.

Arradza managed to take the weapon from his attacker’s hand but fearing for his son’s life, he threw it away to escape with his son.

Publico again got hold of the weapon and tried to stop Arradza and his son, but passersby and motorists responded to help. 

Also read: 'Arrogant' cabbie in viral video denies he was on drugs

The QCPD said it will file a case against the taxi driver for attempted homicide. It also advised the passenger to file a formal complaint before the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

LTFRB said Publico’s cab was originally operated by Sangalang Taxi but was already sold and transferred to another operator.

Preventive suspension order

On Thursday afternoon (January 14), the LTFRB issued an order that preventively suspends the operation of the Toyota Vios driven by Publico with the plate number TXT-864.

LTFRB directed operator Leonora Sangalang to surrender the plate on Monday (January 18).

Within the 30-day suspension, Sangalang must also comply with LTFRB requirements, including a roadworthiness inspection.

The order said the unit would be apprehended and impounded should it operate as a public utility vehicle during the suspension period.

Alarming incidents

LTFRB board member Antonio Inton Jr. said the series of reported incidents involving taxi drivers is alarming.

“Alarming in the sense that illegal acts are no longer about over-charging or refusal to convey passengers, now we’re talking about more violent acts such as attempted homicide. In other words, there are some drivers out there who are willing and ready to injure, and worse kill their passengers,” Inton said.

Inton added it is high time for the agency to revisit its current orders and statutes.

He specifically called for the review of the so-called boundary system as he believes the illegal acts done by cab drivers are rooted in their desire to earn more.

Watch: Dealing with abusive taxi drivers

ERRATUM: The original version of this article contained a file photo of a cab that has a sticker of the GrabTaxi logo. CNN Philippines has replaced that picture to correct whatever negative impression that photo may have had on GrabTaxi, and states categorically that the vehicle and driver involved in the incident are not affiliated with GrabTaxi.