MANILA, Philippines—One of five men caught dismantling a stolen Asian utility vehicle last week in Bulacan has pointed to two known associates of the so-called Dominguez carjack gang as their cohorts.
The two men, said to be affiliated with the gang’s gunman, Rolando Talban, had escorted the stolen Mitsubishi Adventure to Norzagaray town, where it was taken apart by the five arrested suspects.
Supt. Ferdinand Villanueva of the Quezon City Police District’s District (QCPD) Anti-Carnapping Unit said the associates have been linked to other crimes attributed to the gang.
One of those nabbed in Bulacan on Friday while taking apart the stolen AUV confessed that the two men who brought the vehicle to them were affiliated with Talban.
Based on the account of suspect Salvador Tamuso, a certain Marlon, JR and Marlon’s brother accompanied their cohort Alex Manalastas in transporting the vehicle.
Villanueva said Tamuso named Marlon and JR as being “known associates” of Talban, the gunman in the 2011 deaths of car dealer Venson Evangelista and owner Teresita Teano.
But none of the arrested suspects–Tamuso, Manalastas, Rolando Francisco, Leo Mianon, Louie Clavo, and Randy Miano–have seen Talban or the Dominguez gang.
“We are establishing possible links between this group and the Dominguez group … If it is possible that there is someone higher than Talban orchestrating things,” Villanueva said.
In a press conference, district director Chief Supt. Mario dela Vega said brothers Raymond and Roger Dominguez are still the recognized leaders of the syndicate despite being in jail for more than a year.
“It’s possible that those outside of jail are taking orders from inside, with the orders possibly coursed through visitors or other means of communication,” the official said.
Dela Vega said they are also establishing the involvement of others being used as conduits to the Dominguez gang and the group’s financier.
Villanueva noted that both the names of Marlon and JR had cropped up as aliases of other suspects in the shootings of Evangelista and Teano last year.
Novaliches police station commander Supt. Crisostomo Mendoza added that according to Tamuso, only Marlon “knew who placed the order” for the Mitsubishi Adventure.
Tamuso et al were arrested Friday after being caught dismantling the AUV owned by William Caya of Novaliches.
The vehicle was stolen from Caya by Manalastas, the man he hired to drive the vehicle.
Caya filed a complaint with the the QCPD that his Mitsubishi Adventure had been missing for more than a week.
In the course of its investigation, the QCPD’s Novaliches police station traced the fake driver to a jail in Tala, Caloocan City after being arrested for other charges.
Villanueva said Manalastas was the one tasked to steal vehicles by pretending to be a driver-for-hire or someone interested in renting a vehicle.
“That is their new ploy because their old tactics of stealing vehicles, which is forcibly taking them from owners, have been busted,” the official told the INQUIRER.
This prompted the QCPD to warn car owners about the new tactic of carjackers.
Villanueva reminded car owners and those running vehicles-for-hire- businesses to be cautious in transacting with strangers who wish to apply as drivers or rent a vehicle.
Transactions, the official said, should be done inside an office in order to get a photograph and profile of the interested party.
“It’s important to get a photo of the person. Car owners should also ask the nearest police station to run the photo if the person has been linked to other crimes,” Villanueva added.