FOR ‘GROSS DISCOURTESY’
A Grab driver was accused by his female passenger of harassment after he allegedly “caressed” her hair and kissed her while on board the vehicle on her way to the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) last Tuesday, June 7.
The complaint was filed at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB-7) last Wednesday or a day after the supposed incident which was reported by Liza (not her real name).
Liza, in her affidavit, said that her friend booked for a ride from Mandaue City going to the terminal at around 9 p.m. on June 7.
The assigned Grab driver (name withheld pending his side of the story) then arrived to pick them up.
“My friend and I boarded the aforesaid car … and while inside the car we started talking about personal things specifically about my personal problem until my friend disembarked somewhere at Carreta Elementary School,” Liza said in her affidavit.
Liza claimed that when she was alone inside the car, the driver “started talking to me and later on invaded my personal boundary when he held my hand, placed his arm around me, brushed his arm around my chest area and rested his arm on my lap. He then caressed and kissed my hair, he touched my face and turned it towards him. He kissed my forehead, my right cheek and left cheek.”
In her complaint, Liza failed to mention where she was seated at the time and whether the car had come to a halt while this was reportedly going on.
But she then told the driver that her mother was looking for her and her friend knew where she was, Liza further narrated in her statement to LTFRB.
When they reached the terminal, Liza said she paid for her fare, but the driver allegedly held her hand and asked, “Are you okay?”
“He did not immediately open the door when we reached our destination and he asked if I was ready to go home and he said if not, we could go somewhere else,” Liza added.
The female passenger declined his invitation, but before the driver left, he asked for Liza’s contact number, she said.
“So I just gave it because I was so very tired and I wanted to go home,” Liza added.
She also alleged that the driver harassed her through texts, calls and even chatted on her Messenger account.
LTFRB-7 Hearing Officer lawyer Edwin Antepuesto told reporters that the subject Grab vehicle has been impounded and will be fined P120,000 for operating without authority from LTFRB.
Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), such as Grab units, have yet to be issued a franchise by LTFRB pending a review of its guidelines.
But there are those with provisional authority (PA) certificates after their operators have complied with government requirements.
The unit, boarded by Liza, did not have a PA certificate.
Aside from the P120,000 fine for his colorum operations, a fine of P5,000 may also be imposed on the driver if he is found to have committed “gross discourtesy,” said Antepuesto.
“We are giving him and Grab three days for their counter affidavit,” he told reporters.
In his talk with the driver, the latter told Antepuesto that he was just comforting his female passenger who appeared distressed at the time.
Grab Philippines, in a statement, said that the company is currently investigating the reported discourteous act committed by one of its drivers.
“We immediately deactivated the driver from our platform and have brought the driver, operator and the vehicle to LTFRB Regional Director Ahmed Cuizon,” said Leo Gonzales, spokesperson of Grab Philippines.
“Grab Philippines does not condone any immoral activities or malicious acts by its partner-drivers. We assure our riders of our continued efforts to guarantee that their safety is our topmost priority,” Gonzales added.