Grab driver’s last text: Home soon

MANILA — Less than two hours before he was killed, Grab driver Gerardo Maquidato Jr. sent a text message to his nephew, Mark Christian Solitario. It was to be his last.

“I’m down to my last passenger. I am coming home soon,” read Maquidato’s message, which Solitario received at 6:15 p.m. on Thursday.

At 7:45 p.m., a witness said he saw a man in a white shirt pull the bloodied body of a man from the driver’s seat of a silver Toyota Innova (YV 7109) on Bonanza Street in Don Carlos Village, Pasay City.

The man left the body on the pavement before driving away in the Innova that was owned by a relative of the victim.

“I think it’s within our responsibility to do whatever we can to be able to apprehend the perpetrators of this crime. I want the cowards brought to justice as swiftly as possible,” Grab Philippines country head Brian Cu said in a statement on Monday.

He announced a P100,000 reward to anyone who could provide information on the killer.

Tipsters can contact Grab through its dedicated hotline, 0917-617-8731, Cu added.

Maquidato’s wife, Brenda, and her family were informed by Pasay police about her husband’s fate on Friday morning. He had been shot in the back of the head, the bullet exiting through his left eye.

Earlier, they learned from Grab that his last completed transaction was at Dona Moning in Pasay City at 7:14 p.m. on Thursday. After that, Grab’s log showed three canceled bookings.

Based on the police’s initial investigation, the victim’s valuables, including his wallet and ID cards, were missing.

“My husband just wanted to provide for our family. He was a very good husband,” Brenda said.

Maquidato, who would have turned 38 years old today, Oct. 31, left behind four sons, the eldest aged 16 and the youngest just 4 years old.

One of his sons said his last memory of his father was the meal they had at a fast-food restaurant after Sunday Mass.
“We only ate out whenever we had money but we did so last Sunday,” he told the Inquirer.

The youngest child, on the other hand, kept on asking Brenda when their father would wake up.

Maquidato’s act of kindness to a sickly passenger went viral last year, earning him recognition as one of Grab’s best driver-partners.

Following the killing, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said it was working with app-based transport companies to protect their drivers.

Among the early proposals are for passengers to send their photos to the transport network companies and for drivers to share their location with their loved ones.

LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said these would be further discussed.