MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) started yesterday its preliminary investigation on the criminal charges filed against 10 suspects in the rent-sangla scam that victimized hundreds of car owners.
Rafaela Anunciacion, tagged as the alleged brains of the scheme, failed to show up during the probe.
Anunciacion did not send a lawyer, prompting the DOJ panel chaired by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rosanne Balauag to issue another subpoena for her.
Anunciacion was apprehend on March 2 by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Highway Patrol Unit 4-A’s special operations team.
Judge Francisco Pano of the San Pedro, Laguna Regional Trial Court Branch 93 issued a warrant for her arrest.
Anunciacion is out on bail.
Her alleged agents identified as Tychicus Nambia, Anastacia Cauyan, Sabina Torrea, Eliseo Cortez, Eleanor Constatino, Marilou Cruz, Jhennelyn Berroya, Ana Borlon and Lea Rosales appeared before the DOJ prosecutors.
The DOJ has issued an immigration lookout order against Anunciacion and the other suspects.
They were given until the next hearings set on March 27 and 31 to answer the complaint for swindling and syndicated estafa under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code and Presidential Decree 1689.
The charges were filed by the PNP Highway Patrol Group and victims of the scam from Angeles City in Pampanga, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Laguna.
The victims appeared during the hearing to affirm their respective affidavits.
Government probers said the suspects enticed car owners to rent out their cars from P35,000 to P45,000 a month.
Once the owners agreed, their vehicles were either mortgaged or sold to different persons without their knowledge.
Authorities said the car rental scam victimized around 500 people.