MANILA – Carjackers booking rides with transport network vehicle services in order to steal their cars struck again, shooting dead GrabCar driver-partner Gerardo Amolato Maquidato Jr. Friday night before taking his Toyota Innova in Pasay City, the sixth such carnapping of a TNVS this year, as reported by Grab alone.
Maquidato, described as one of the “best driver-partners” of Grab who first became a netizens’ hero after rushing to her destination – for free – a woman picking up bags of blood for dialysis – was a registered driver of a silver Toyota Innova with plate number YV 7109.
“Today is indeed a sad day for Grab, ” said Fiona Nicolas, government communications manager for Grab Philippines’ Public Affairs Department.
She said Maquidato “was killed by still unidentified suspects, who booked and rode as regular passengers before shooting him and fleeing in his vehicle.”
She cited an initial police report “that a witness heard a gunshot at about 750pm, last Oct 26 and then saw a lifeless man pushed out a silver Toyota Innova by unidentified suspects along Bonanza Street in Pasay.”
On Friday (Oct 27), Grab’s attention was called in a post by Rex Mer Solitario that spoke of the death of Maquidato, his uncle who was a GrabCar driver.
Nicolas said in a statement: “We mourn for the needless and untimely death of one of our best driver-partners, Mr. Gerardo Amolato Maquidato Jr. Grab is one with authorities in making sure that justice will be served and perpetrators will be put behind bars.”
Tech solution vs carjacking
Meanwhile, she said “Grab has taken steps in working on a tech solution that would decrease, if not completely hamper, the chances of carnapping incidents involving Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) – that have apparently been the latest target of lawless elements.”
Grab Philippines reported to authorities at least six confirmed cases of carnapping incidents involving Grab Cars in 2017, according to Nicolas. “These incidents were perpetrated by criminals pretending to be legitimate passengers.”
Grab said it was working closely with the Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group, under which is Task Force Limbas, in resolving these cases, and encouraged driver-partners to be vigilant, and to use 911 hotline for emergency cases.
A Good Samaritan
In October last year, Maquidato was one of the TNVS’ driver-awardees, recognized for giving a courtesy ride to a sick passenger. He enjoyed the praises of thousands of Filipinos after his good deed went viral because of a Facebook post from the passenger’s family, recalled Nicolas.
“Divine Lactao Ornum booked a GrabCar for her sister, Prima, who was on her way to Quezon City to pick up bags of blood for her dialysis. Maquidato was in the area and was less than a minute away. Maquidato picked her up but did not ask for payment for the trip out of kindness.”
Although Prima passed away last August 22 due to complications of diabetes, the Ornum family nonetheless were profuse in their thanks to Maquidato for being there for Prima. Divine recalled how her then-ailing sister Prima was taken aback, completely unable to comprehend why “Mang Gerardo” refused to take her payment.
“Our prayers and sympathies go out to Mr. Maquidato’s family. He was a good father to his four children, a good friend to many of his fellow drivers, and a good driver who was always willing to outserve his passengers. He will be missed,” said Nicolas.