MANILA (UPDATE)—Gabby (not her real name) is an avid user of Angkas because of its fast and affordable way of commute in beating the Metro Manila traffic.
Little did she know it was through the popular motorcycle-hailing app that she would become a victim of molestation.
In the fight to end the stigma surrounding the alleged assault, Gabby has opened up about the incident and is using her experience to encourage others to speak out.
"Nilalabanan ko ho 'yung takot, 'yung trauma kasi gusto ko po lumaban sa nangyari kasi alam ko pong marami na ring insidenteng nando'n na nananahimik sila," she told DZMM's "Dos Por Dos."
(I'm fighting back the fear and trauma because I know many similar incidents go unreported.)
Gabby recalled she hung out with friends in Project 6, Quezon City last Saturday night.
At 8:42 p.m., she booked a ride with Angkas, her usual commute back home to Eastwood that only takes at least 30 minutes.
Gabby said she had a few drinks, but clearly remembered what happened.
At first, the Angkas rider showed concern to her, she said.
"Tinatanong niya ako kung kaya ko pa daw ho ba. Nasusuka ako," Gabby recalled, though she was not showing signs she was feeling nauseous.
(He asked if I was fine or wanted to throw up.)
The motorcycle then briefly stopped on a dimly-lit street and the rider allegedly groped Gabby's private parts.
She didn't immediately react out of fear.
"Sa takot ko po na baka 'pag pumalag ako sa gitna ng dilim, baka ho buhatin na niya ako, dalhin niya ako sa sulok, may gagawin siya sa akin, knowing na mahina ho ako no'ng gabi na 'yon," Gabby said.
(I was scared she might lift me up [from the motorcycle], bring me to a corner and do something to me, knowing I was feeling weak that time.)
Gabby pretended she was unaware of the alleged abuse, and at times, to be asleep. This allegedly went on for almost 2 hours while they were negotiating the avenues of Katipunan and C.P. Garcia.
"Ang tagal po no'ng tiniis ko na biyahe namin na hindi po ako nagsalita. Kasi gusto ko ho na maabutan siya ng mga awtoridad, na masumbong ko po siya no'ng mismong oras na 'yun," she said.
(I endured that long ordeal because I wanted authorities to catch him that time.)
When they reached a corner near Eastwood at 10:20 p.m. and saw the village watchmen, Gabby asked the rider she wanted to get off the motorcycle.
"Pagbaba ko po, sabi ko na po sa mga barangay tanod, 'Oh t******** 'yan, hulihihin niyo 'yan. Hinahawak-hawakan ako niyan. Hulihin niyo 'yan,'" she said.
(When I got off the motorcycle, I told the village watchmen, 'Arrest that f*****. He groped me. Arrest him.')
The village watchmen then held the driver and took him to the Anonas Police Station.
A complaint of acts of lasciviousness has been filed against the driver. Gabby wants to elevate the criminal charges.
RIDER DENIES GROPING
The rider, in an interview with ABS-CBN News, denied he groped his customer.
"Tinamaan na po kasi siya sa kaniyang pagkalasing. 'Yong leeg niya nakapatong sa aking balikat at 'yong kaniyang kamay humag sa akin," he said.
(She was drunk. Her head was on my shoulders and she was hugging me.)
The rider said he stopped the motorcycle several times to adjust Gabby's position so that she might not get hit by other vehicles.
The ride-hailing firm, in a statement released Tuesday, said it had suspended the driver who was accused of molesting Gabby.
"Given the severity of the accusation, we have temporarily suspended the rider pending results of the official investigation," Angkas said.
"We are closely coordinating and cooperating with the authorities to ensure this case is quickly resolved. If found guilty, in addition to any criminal sanctions, he will be forever banned from the platform."
Angkas said it was "an awful thing that no one should ever have to go through."