A few days ago, a netizen shared her traumatic experience while riding a taxi. According to Deej D., “I heard a weird sound of spray twice. I looked at the driver and he’s not moving though so I thought it was nothing. Then after awhile probably 10 seconds or more I heard the spray sound again twice, this time I can smell a weird fragrance and my fingers were starting to feel numb.”
She was able to go down in time and file a complaint. The company that booked her ride offered to shoulder medical expenses.
Now, the company and the taxi driver have spoken about the issue and released their statement. According to the company:
We would like to inform you that the August 17 incident has been CLOSED. The GrabTaxi team spent over a week to carefully investigate on this matter. We brought the passenger to the hospital for full check-up and toxicology exams, all results were negative. The driver was also brought for drug test and investigation, again all results were negative.
It has come to our attention that the passenger posted her story on social media, and we would like to help the driver share his side as well.
According to the driver:
Ako po si Joel Lapira, isang GrabTaxi driver. Ako po ang nagmamaneho ng UVP 906.
Noong August 17, 2015, ako po ay natraffic sa may Manila Peninsula sa Makati. Kagaya ng ibang taxi drivers, ginusto ko na lumabas ng Makati dahil sobrang traffic na. Sakto, may nagbook na pasahero galing SM Makati papuntang Bacood, Sta. Mesa.
(I am Joel Lapira, a GrabTaxi driver. I drive the taxi with the plate UVP 906.
Last August 17, 2015, I got caught in traffic near Manila Peninsula in Makati. Like other taxi drivers, I wanted to leave Makati because of the traffic. Someone booked from SM Makati going to Bacood, Sta. Mesa.)
This is when their stories converge. At the corner of Makati Avenue and Ayala Avenue, Deej took a call and requested to go down because she had to go to her mother (this was a fake call). Joel said Deej couldn’t go down because it wasn’t allowed, so they turned left at the Stock Exchange so she could alight.
Bago siya bumaba, ang metro niya ay P54. Nagbayad siya ng P100 para kasama ang booking fee at tip, tsaka siya bumaba. Pagkatapos nun, naghintay na ulit ako ng panibagong booking.
Kinabukasan, tumawag ang GrabTaxi sa akin at sinabing magreport sa opisina dahil naka deactivate ang account ko. Gulat ko nalang pag dating ko sa opisina ako pala ay pinapa imbestigahan dahil sa isang spray incident. Dali-dali akong nagpunta sa clinic para magpa drug test at hinalughog ng GrabTaxi ang sasakyan ko tila may hinahanap.
(Before she went down, the meter was P54. She paid P100, which included the booking fee and tip. After that, I waited for another booking.
The following day, GrabTaxi called me and asked me to report to the office because my account was deactivated. I was surprised when I was being investigated for a spray incident. I quickly went to the clinic to get a drug test. GrabTaxi also checked my vehicle as if they were looking for something.)
According to Joel, his life was affected because Deej posted the incident on Facebook without any proof.
Hindi ko manlang nalaman na may ganitong kaso na pala laban sa akin. Kahit mga kamaganak ko sa Canada,Amerika at Japan, lahat sila, nabalitaan na rin na may kaso akong ganito. May mga pasaherong bumababa agad pag nalalaman nila ang pangalan ko. Kahit ang anak ko na gradeschool palang, nakakatanggap ng pangungutya mula sa mga kaklase niya na “spray gang” daw tatay niya.
(I did not even known that there’s a case against me. Even my relatives from Canada, the US, and Japan heard about what happened. Passengers would get down from the taxi when they hear my name. Even my child, who is in grade school, is being bullied. They say that his father is part of the “spray gang”.)
Joel concluded the post by saying he hasn’t driven for seven days because of the post. He said he is willing to face all accusations because he is confident of his innocence.
Despite the case being closed, Deej revealed on Facebook that she wants to reopen the case. She says:
Sabi din nung magaling na doctor na nagcheck up sa akin, ang chemicals na naispray ay mawawala kaagad matapos mainhale at ang mga tests na gagawin ay para lamang masiguro na walang naapektuhan sa pangangatawan ng tao.
(The doctor who did the medical exam told me that the chemicals sprayed would go away after being inhaled, and that the tests are only to make sure that it didn’t have any negative effect on the body.)
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!