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Bacolod rent-a-car firms fall prey to syndicate

October 30, 2008 4:21am

MANILA, Philippines - At least four rent-a-car firms in Bacolod City lost six vehicles to a suspected syndicate after the MassKara Festival, an online news site reported.

Visayan Daily Star reported that Bacolod City police chief Sr. Supt. Ronilo Quebrar ordered an investigation into the incidents.

Ramy Jalandoon, owner of Faith Taxi, said two Toyota Corolla Altis sedans a Vios compact car were rented from his company last Oct. 21 and had not been returned.

He said "good-looking Tagalog speaking women and two men" made the self-drive rentals, and voiced fears the cars may have been brought out of Negros Island.

Jalandoon said three of the missing vehicles-for-rent from Bacolod, one of which may have been his, were reported ferried out of Negros from the Escalante port to Cebu City.

It was not the first time he lost vehicles in his business. Last May, two of his rent-a-car vehicles were also stolen, and one was found pawned to a casino in Cebu.

Jalandoon said a Toyota Vios, Altis and Adventure van owned by three other rent-a-car firms are also missing.

Sr. Insp. Placido Gentoleo, Bacolod Police Station 8 commander, said the three other vehicles were rented around Oct. 21 to 22.

Quebrar said he has directed the police to file charges against the persons who rented the six cars even if the names they used may be fictitious.

Police suspect the car thieves would rent cars for three days on a self-drive basis, and would even pay in advance. But they would no longer return the vehicles.

Quebrar said rent-a-car owners have been advised to require that their vehicles be leased only if their own drivers are used.

He said police also advised the business owners to ask the renters to present valid identification cards such as those of the Government Service Insurance System or the Social Security System.

They should also take photos of the renters, Quebrar said.- GMANews.TV