Actor Jake Cuenca was arrested in the Philippines over the weekend after allegedly hitting a police car with his own vehicle and then fleeing the scene. The 33-year-old has been charged with reckless recklessness causing property damage, according to a report by PhilStar Global. The incident took place in Mandaluyong City on Saturday evening.
Cuenca was born in San Jose, California, but grew up in Manila, Philippines, where he is a prominent athlete and actor. He has appeared in Filipino productions since the late 1990s, although none that most American viewers are familiar with. He is accused of hitting his Jeep Rubicon in a police car during a narcotics operation on Saturday night around 9 p.m. local time. Police were in the middle of an undercover operation when Cuenca hit one of their cars and then left in a hurry without stopping to check for any injuries or damage.
Police said they pursued Cuenca through the city in a chase that they feared would further endanger passers-by. They decided to try and shoot him down, but ended up hitting an innocent civilian instead – a driver from the Grab rideshare service.
“The police chased him. Our staff had to deactivate the vehicle and pulled one of the tires during the chase. A stray bullet hit a driver of Grab, ”admitted the director of the Eastern Police District, Brig. General Matthew Baccay in a public statement. The driver is Eleazar Martinito, 43, who was rushed to hospital and is believed to be in stable condition.
“It’s a very unfortunate incident. Our staff may have had an adrenaline rush when the accident took place. We confiscated marijuana during the injection, ”Baccay explained.
Baccay also mentioned that he suspected that a medical report could indicate that Cuenca was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the crash. However, he admitted that police found nothing in Cuenca’s car after it was impounded. Cuenca’s father told reporters his son was injured in the crash.
As for Cuenca, he said he walked away from the scene out of fear. He said there was nothing to identify the undercover officers as police officers, and once they gave chase he feared for his life. It’s unclear when the actor is due to return to court.