PNP, LTO scalawags in cahoots with car rental scammers, says HPG

A police official bared that elements of the Philippine National Police and Land Transportation office are allegedly in connivance with groups involved in a car rental scam.

In a report by The STAR, Brig. Gen. Roberto Fajardo, director of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), said they are monitoring several policemen and LTO employees believed to be involved in the “rent-sangla (pawn)” scheme.

Declining to go into details to avoid jeopardizing the investigation, Fajardo said that they have already identified erring police officers and LTO personnel involved in the scam.

“Marami yan kaya lang sa amin na muna yun (There are many, so we’d like to keep the information to ourselves for now),” he said in an interview over dzBB.

The police official maintained that some police officers would facilitate the transfer of a stolen vehicle to another owner through their contacts at the LTO, who in turn would provide spurious documents, The STAR reported.

Fajardo added that their matrix of car-rental scam rings now include some policemen and LTO personnel.

“Hindi magkakalakas-loob ang isang scammer na maglagay kung walang kilala sa loob na sinasandalan (These scammers wouldn’t be so brazen if they didn’t know anyone inside who could protect them),” Fajardo said in a separate phone interview.

Some police officers conniving with car-rental scammers have already been axed from their posts and placed on floating status, Fajardo said. Meanwhile, Fajardo said that some members of the car-rental scams would convince car owners to be partners in a bogus rent-a-car service.

The victims would be paid, unaware that their vehicles had been sold to other people, The STAR reported.

Without going into details, Fajardo said that victim count could run up to the hundreds. “There are instances when the buyers end up as victims as they are unaware that the vehicles they bought were stolen,” he said.

The rent-sangla scheme has moved from its usual base of operations in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) to other parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

The HPG is currently undermanned with only about 1,600 policemen nationwide. For the unit to cover the whole country down to the smallest towns, Fajardo said the HPG needs about 10,000 police officers. – Emmanuel Tupas/STAR

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