MANILA, March 5 (PNA) — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has named 10 prosecutors who will conduct preliminary investigation on the complaints filed against the perpetrators behind the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.
Aguirre has issued Department Order no. 138 dated March 2 which designated Senior Assistant State Prosecutor (SASP) Rosanne Balauag as chair of the high-level panel while its other members are SASP Rex Gingoyon; Assistant State Prosecutors Aristotle Reyes, Rodan Parrocha, Bryan Jacinto Cacha Jr., Anna Noreen Devanadera and Jovyanne Escaño-Santamaria; and Assistant Prosecution Attorneys Wendell Bendoval, Joan Garcia and Marc Eico Tariga.
The Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group and several sets of victims of the scam from Bulacan, Laguna, Angeles City, Batangas and Nueva Ecija have filed charges for carjacking, swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689 before the DOJ.
The respondents in the complaints are Rafaela Anunciacion, Tychicus Nambia, Anastacia Cauyan, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales.
Earlier, Aguirre ordered the Bureau of Immigration to issue an immigration look-out bulletin order (ILBO) against three suspects in the ‘rent-tangay’ modus operandi which has victimized car owners from different parts of the country.
In a memorandum, Aguirre ordered BI Commissioner Jaime Morente to put the suspects Ana Pamplona Borlon, Lea Constantino Rosales and Rafaela M. Anunciacion under an ILBO.
Under the ILBO, all Immigration Officers are mandated to immediately coordinate with the Office of the Secretary of the DOJ any attempt on the part of the aforementioned persons to leave the country.
A person subject of an ILBO can still leave the country upon clearance from the DOJ.
Aguirre warned that any attempt to violate the ILBO will be held liable.
He ordered the government prosecuting arm to immediately file a case in court and obtain an arrest warrant “if it should be found that there is probable cause to criminally charge the respondents.”
Aguirre already met the representatives of the victims, and upon seeing the magnitude of this scam, there are around 500 people who fell as victims to the scheme.”Rentangay” is a modus where suspects pose as renters of private vehicles and pay an agreed amount of monthly rent. The suspect will then pawn the rented vehicle to another person.
In their modus operandi, the suspects would allegedly victimize car owners from different parts of greater Metro Manila area and Luzon. While some of the cars were recovered as far as Mindanao provinces such as Marawi and Tawi-Tawi.
Aguirre also ordered the NBI to investigate and spearhead the filing of cases against the perpetrators of the car rental scam.
”I immediately ordered the NBI to take action. I have given the NBI 15 days to submit a status report on this case,” he added.
For his part, NBI National Capital Region (NCR) Director Cesar Bacani said that by March 10, they will submit the report following the order of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to submit a status report on the investigation conducted by the bureau on the scam after 15 days.
”We will file the first batch kung sino hahabol sa kaso na yun. After that, yung hindi hahabol sa kaso na yun habol na lang sa filing,” Bacani told reporters in press conference last Feb. 21 held in NBI main headquarters in Manila.
Bacani said that the suspects may face multiple counts of estafa based on how many number of vehicles were involved in the scam.
He explained the NBI doesn’t see yet a carnapping case since the investigation so far revealed that there were documents executed by the victims which shows that the suspects have lawful possession of their vehicles.
Though estafa is a bailable offense, the NBI official assured that the suspects might fail to post bail bonds.
Bacani cited that there are 72 vehicle owners who have sought help with the NBI.
Apart from vehicles recovered by the Philippine National Police (PNP), there are also 256 vehicles turned over by money lenders to the NBI.
“Kapag naka-comply sila sa requirements we can release the cars to the rightful claimants (If the vehicle owners comply with the requirements we can release the vehicles to them),” he said.
Though nothing is final yet, the NBI official said that vehicle owners may be required to submit a sworn affidavit of complaints, financing documents of their vehicles, valid identification cards, and the official receipts and certificates of their vehicles.
“Of the documents required , we will also ask them to execute an affidavit of undertaking,” he added.