To those unfamiliar with the case, Robert Blair Carabuena was caught on a cellphone video manhandling (or bullying, as ABS-CBN News put it) Saturnino Fabros, an officer of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in Tandang Sora, Quezon City. Carabuena is reportedly an Ateneo de Manila University alumnus with a high-position in Philip Morris.
The incident happened last August 11 but it has not received immediate media attention because of tropical storm Helen. Aside from facing direct assault charges from Fabros’ camp, some Filipinos have launched an online petition asking Philip Morris to fire Carabuena. The petition, whose initial signatories include journalist Ellen Tordesillas and University of the Philippines professor Prospero de Vera, can be accessed here.
The circumstances leading to the apparent attack on Fabros remain unclear. Quoting sources from the Carabuena camp, ABS-CBN TV host Bianca Gonzales said that Fabros allegedly hit the former’s car while cursing in the process. The Carabuena-Fabros tussle has easily become the most-talked about road rage incident in the Philippines since Jason Ivler made headlines back in 2009 to 2010 for killing two fellow motorists on separate instances.
The “relationship” of humans with their cars is one area that has been the subject of many scientific researches in recent years especially in the United States. Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University in North Carolina, USA, said: “As soon as we acquire something we start to develop an attachment to it,” adding that “the sheer fact of ownership” increases how much we value objects.
Although Ariely did not explicitly say it, it can be assumed that the value we attach to an object is directly related to the amount we spent to acquire it. Some car types can be as expensive as a brand new house, and therefore, it is no surprise that some drivers react violently whenever another motorist (or just anyone) hits his or her car, especially if it results in visible damages. Could this be the main trigger of Carabuena’s road rage?
PS: Perplexed with the rising cases of deaths due to vehicular accidents, the Vatican issued in 2007 the so-called “Ten Commandments” for drivers. Below, I have highlighted those edicts can be a good help in preventing future road rages:
1. You shall not kill.
2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm.
3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events.
4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.
5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination and an occasion of sin.
6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so.
7. Support the families of accident victims.
8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness.
9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party.
10. Feel responsible toward others.
MUST READ: Sociology professor Michael Kearl (from Texas’ Trinity University) has a wonderful piece titled “The social psychology of driving.” The article explains why some drivers act as if they own all the roads.