More Than 60 Rent-a-Car Scam Victims Surface to Seek DOJ Help

Members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Highway Patrol Group (HPG) are alarmed at the growing number of individuals who fell victim to a rent-a-car scam perpetrated by a syndicate that allegedly operates nationwide. To date, over 60 respondents from all over the country have identified themselves as victims of the scam, colloquially known as ‘Rent-Tangay’ or 'Rent-Sangla.' Lawyer Ariel Inton, a former Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member, accompanied the complainants as the filed their complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Policeman guarding rent-a-car scam vehicles ©[/caption>

15 working days

The DOJ gave the NBI 15 working days to investigate and go after the syndicate’s members. Last February 21, the DOJ issued a lookout bulletin order (LBO) against three suspects, namely Ana Pamplona Borlon, Eleanor Leah Constantino Rosales and Rafaela Anunciacion. In a memorandum, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre instructed Bureau of Immigrations (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente to uphold the LBO and monitor airports and seaports regarding the possible flight or travel of the three.

“I enjoin all our Immigration officers and everyone concerned to strictly discharge their duties,” Aguirre said. “This ‘Rent-Tangay’ scam has victimized a lot of persons, let us bring those responsible to our courts so that justice will be served.”

A total of 256 vehicles are now in the custody of the Tagaytay NBI regional office. Dante Gierran, the director of the country’s premier investigating body, ordered bureau personnel to start returning the vehicles—which were recovered from the rent-a-car syndicate—to their rightful owners.

Only one suspect detained

The Philippine National Police (PNP) filed large-scale estafa cases with the DOJ against eight suspects which includes the three persons on the LBO list, as well as Tychisu Historillo Nambio, Jhennelyn Berroya, Anastacia Montes Cauyan, Eliseo Cortez, Marilou Cruz at Sabina Torrea.

Of the eight, only Nambio has been detained. Despite being in police custody, Inton asked the DOJ to extend the LBO to Nambio because he might post bail and flee the country.

How the ‘Rent-Tangay’ scam worked

confiscated rent-a-car scam vehicles ©[/caption>

To conduct the ‘Rent-Tangay’ scam, the suspects pose as renters of private vehicles and pay a monthly rent amount which both the private car owner and the renter agree to. The suspects will then sell the rented vehicles to a third party without the owner’s knowledge and make off with the money.

Though more or less 60 victims approached the DOJ, it is estimated that around 500 people fell for the racket. The real car owners and parties to whom the vehicles were sold to have reportedly settled the matter on their own and agreed to file charges against the syndicate.

The HPG operatives seized over 400 vehicles in an orchestrated anti-carjacking operation conducted nationwide. Most of the vehicles were recovered from Bulacan, Metro Manila, and CALABARZON area. Some were found in far-off provinces in the south such as Lanao del Sur and Tawi-Tawi.