‘Rent-sangla’ scam suspect shot dead in Laguna
SAN PEDRO CITY—The slain suspect in a multimillion-peso car rental scam received threats before she was shot and killed by two men in Sta. Rosa City in Laguna province on Wednesday, police said.
Supt. Joel Estaris, Sta. Rosa City police chief, said investigators were looking into the possibility that those behind the murder of Eleanor “Lea” Rosales, 58, were victims of the car rental scheme, known as “rent-sangla.”
The scheme reportedly duped hundreds of vehicle owners into a car rental business. However, unknown to them, the suspects pawned the vehicles to other people.
Rosales, one of the respondents in the string of estafa cases filed by the police Highway Patrol Group (HPG), was shot dead in front of her house in Barangay Malusak, Sta. Rosa City at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Estaris said Rosales was attacked by two men, one wearing a ski mask while the other, a helmet, as soon as she alighted from her car.
She came from the city prosecutor’s office for a preliminary investigation related to charges of syndicated estafa filed against her over the vehicle rental scam.
A footage from a security camera in the vicinity showed that Rosales tried to run away but collapsed and died on the street.
In a telephone interview, Estaris said Rosales’ relatives and helpers had told investigators that she had been getting threats through phone calls and text messages since authorities, early this year, busted the “rent-sangla” operation.
The scheme involved hundreds of victims across Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) region, Metro Manila and Central Luzon that paved the way for several batches of estafa and syndicated estafa cases to be filed in the Department of Justice.
The HPG Calabarzon recovered more than 600 vehicles through a series of operations since January.
Some of the vehicles were returned to their owners while others remained at the regional police headquarters in Laguna.
Senior Insp. Myra Novilla, HPG regional spokesperson, said Rosales was arrested in February but was released on bail since the warrant issued against her was for a case of simple estafa.
About two months ago, the HPG also arrested the group’s suspected mastermind, Rafaela Anunciacion, also in Sta. Rosa City. She, too, was released after posting bail.
In a statement to HPG, Anunciacion denied working with Rosales, contrary to the complainants’ claims that Rosales acted as Anunciacion’s secretary. —MARICAR CINCO
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