Iloilo City police warns of rent-sangla scam

By Jennifer P. Rendon

The rent-sangla (rent-mortgage) scam that became “popular” in Luzon has made its way into Western Visayas.

The Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) on Thursday warned car owners against the scam after a man from Lambunao, Iloilo claimed he has fallen victim to the said modus operandi.

Also known as rent-tangay scam, the modus is a “confidence trick” that was first documented in the country in 2017.

Victims of the rent-sangla scam claimed they later learned that they had fallen victim to fraudulent promises of rental income when they found their vehicles had either been mortgaged or sold to other persons without their knowledge.

“The prospect of gain is so tempting that owners trust their vehicles to renters,” Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Benitez Jr., ICPO City Intelligence Unit chief, said.

The complainant, who requested anonymity, said he rented out his Ford Ranger pick-up truck to a woman, upon the recommendation of her alleged relatives, who resided in Lambunao town.

They agreed to a one-month rent at a P2,500 daily fee.

The woman, who claimed to be a resident of Iloilo City, paid for her one-week rent.

After one week, she failed to pay, prompting the owner to demand the return of the vehicle.

But the woman could no longer be found or reached.

The owner decided to lodge a complaint at the barangay and the Lambunao Municipal Police Station.

The woman’s alleged relatives from Lambunao refused to accept the summons intended for her.

A month passed until the complainant heard that a suspect of the same modus operandi was arrested in Bacolod City.

When he checked, it was not the same person who duped him.

The Bacolod City police then referred him to ICPO.

Benitez said he received a call from the complainant at 5 a.m. on Tuesday, August 15.

He later personally appeared at the ICPO-City Intelligence Unit office at 11 p.m. on the said day.

“We did a tracking operation the following day until we were able to locate the person who has custody of the vehicle,” Benitez said.

Police learned that the renter mortgaged the vehicle for P270,000 to another woman from City Proper district, Iloilo City.

Through an asset, the CIU operatives were able to connect with the said woman.

An entrapment operation was then laid out.

Benitez said the mortgagee agreed to meet them after they baited her with the P270,000 she paid to the renter.

The vehicle was later recovered in an entrapment operation at the SM City car park in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

After the vehicle was turned over to its owner, he refused to file any case against the mortgagee.

“Daw kami lang nanukot para mabawi niya iya salakyan,” Benitez said.

As this developed, police are still hunting down the woman who rented the vehicle.

“That’s why, it’s very important for owners not to trust their vehicles to anyone even with the promise of a lucrative rent,” Benitez said.