Suspect in disappearance of Grab drivers slain in Cavite shootout
SAN PEDRO CITY—A man involved in a string of road rage incidents and who was suspected to be behind the disappearance of at least two Grab drivers was killed in a shootout with policemen in Cavite province on Wednesday night.
But Police Col. Lawrence Cajipe, regional officer of the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said the death of Frankie Mark Serrano, 20, did not end their investigation, especially since the drivers of the ride-hailing app, Laurence Fajardo and Manuel Alamuddin, had yet to be found.
The drivers went missing in April after they were booked four days apart using the same pick-up and drop-off points in Cavite City.
Authorities were able to connect the incidents to Serrano following a road rage incident at Nagtahan Bridge in Manila on May 20.
Serrano was driving a Toyota Vios, with plate UKE 549, when flagged down for a traffic violation. He reportedly surrendered his driver’s license but sped away once the enforcer noticed that the card was fake.
An onlooker was able to take a video of the incident as Serrano rammed at least 10 other vehicles. He was forced to stop as angry motorists threw rocks at the car.
Serrano escaped on foot along with a still unidentified male companion. He abandoned the car and left a woman passenger, who turned out to be his live-in partner.
The Manila police later traced the car to Laarni Roque, Fajardo’s sister. Alamuddin’s relatives then sought authorities after the video of the Nagtahan incident went viral.
The police also learned that Serrano had used the same vehicle days before the Nagtahan incident when he shot two men at a gasoline station in Imus City, Cavite, over a petty altercation.
On June 8, Judge Hilda Mendoza of the Imus Municipal Trial Court in Cities issued a warrant for the arrest of Serrano on a case of grave threat. A report from the Cavite police said Serrano led a robbery and car theft gang in Metro Manila and Cavite.
Cajipe said the police received a tip that Serrano was staying in an apartment at Barangay Santol in Silang, Cavite.
Authorities on Wednesday night tried to arrest Serrano but he reportedly resisted and fired at them. The police fired back, killing Serrano.
He said the woman whom Serrano left at Nagtahan Bridge in May was the same person the police found with him in Silang during their operation.
Serrano tried to use her as a human shield by “pushing her toward the policemen” before he fired his gun, Cajipe said.
“The woman told us she was being held [against her will]. She said [Serrano had] threatened to kill her father, a shoemaker from Cavite, and her child, if she fled. She’s pregnant,” Cajipe said.
The police official did not identify the woman, saying she feared that Serrano’s men would get back at her.
Police are looking into another case of a Grab driver slain in Rodriguez town, Rizal province, last year. Cajipe said it was possible that Serrano’s group was also behind the Rizal case. —MARICAR CINCO
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