By Sen Guingguing
The lid of an elaborate sting operations involving the son of an airline executive was blown off Wednesday with the arrest of the suspect leaving in its trail a string of victims mostly prominent city residents who are engaged in the van-for-hire business.
As the modus of the suspect identified as Jose Glenn Cadampog y Ceniza, 26, married and jobless of Siteville Homes, Dao district, this city, surfaced so were his victims who took turns in pointing at him as the one who swindled them. The suspect was said to be a son of an airline manager out of wedlock. The manager was assigned here in this city sometime ago before he was transferred to a Mindanao city. The mother is now in the States and is married to another guy.
The swindle came in various guises but the most common was that the suspect approached the owners of rent-a-car shops and then have their vehicles rented. That done, the vans and or cars were either sold or mortgaged.
The most prominent victim was City Councilor Edgar Bompat. In fact, he was the one who tipped off police to make an entrapment operation to bag the suspect.
The city councilorâ€™s vehicles for hire, a Mazda Familia and a Besta vans, were reportedly hired by the suspect at P2,500 per day. When the agreed time that the vans were returned to their owner, the suspect was nowhere to be found. The agreed duration of rental was only one day. Instead of returning the vans as agreed, it took the suspect nine days later to return them resulting in the piled up of rentals to the tune of P42,000.
Since it was a con operations, the suspect has nothing to pay, forcing Bompat to file carnapping and estafa charges.
It was not until Bompat threatened Cadampog to report to the police that the later was forced to return the rented vans. Only one of the two vehicles was returned on Wednesday driving Bompat to call the police and laid the trap to collar the suspect. The other van was found abandoned in a shop in Dao.
The sad experience of the city councilor was also the sob stories told by victims to the local police.
Another prominent victim was a high ranking police official. The official who was not identified in the report was that he lost his armalite rifle after the suspect befriended him ultimately resulting in having the gun mortgaged to another person.
Sensing that he would be in trouble with his superior due to his reckless imprudence, took pains in locating the firearm. Good for him that his colleagues in the police force pooled some amount to redeem the pawned gun. The mortgage amount was P35,000 and the firearm is now in the tight possession of its owner â€œmay be vowing, never will it happen againâ€.
As he duped more victims after another, the suspect became indiscriminate in the choice of potential customers.
This developed after no less than former Inabanga mayor Jose Jumamoy, Jr. as another tempting victim. In his case, the former mayor was the recipient of a bogus mortgage courtesy of Cadampog. Jumamoy was lured into accepting the mortgage after he was shown a special power of attorney that he indeed was the owner of the van.
The transaction was exposed when Cadampog was arrested in the Bompat case.
It was surmised that the same van mortgaged to Jumamoy must be one of those vehicles the suspect rented from vehicle-for-hire shops. When the former town executive threatened him with legal remedy, the suspect convinced the mortgagee to accept a titled property.
As of last report, it was learned that Jumamoy was still in possession of the land title but the suspectâ€™s mother and stepfather assured the former mayor to pay him in cash.
Like Jumamoy, Cristino Lagumbay of J. Borja St., this city, can be considered as â€œbig gainerâ€ of the transaction if they decide to sell the titled properties to other buyers.
Lagumbayâ€™s case was that his van was rented by Cadampog but refused to return it when the owner demanded the same. Until the rental accumulated to something like P350,000 that Lagumbay was already alarmed.
When he confronted Cadampog, no van was found in his possession but he promised to pay his rental dues with a titled house and lot. Lagumbay said if he decides to sell the property he would appear to have made a killing out of the shady deal because somebody already offered to buy it at P4 million. But he said he was not inclined to sell the property but all he wants was that he should be paid the rental of his van.
Further investigation showed that the original owner of Lagumbayâ€™s van was the mother of Cadampog. Then the suspect cajoled Lagumbay to rent the same van at P1,500 per day for it to make money. Finding the deal â€œto be too good to be trueâ€, Lagumbay obliged only to learn later that it was used to ferry tourists to the Eskaya Resort and Spa in Tawala, Panglao. Unknown to Lagumbay, his van also engaged in the rental business by Cadampog.
When recovered upon Lagumbayâ€™s representation, the van was at Eskaya with Cadampog on the wheels.
The story of Rodrigo Balaba of Dampas district this city, bore the same circumstances with that of the suspectâ€™s previous capers.
Also in the rental business, Balaba, three of his vehicles were rented by Cadampog. After accumulating the rental fees to P210,000, the owner confronted the suspect only to discover that his Toyota Vios was mortgaged to Panglao Councilor Benjie Arcamo of P120,000. The two other vehicles were a Nissan Sentra and Toyota Altis but until now they remain nowhere in sight.
Another car dealer along CPG Avenue was almost victimized by the same modus if he was not alerted of the con job.
A woman who was not identified in the report was divested of her multicab when Cadampog approached her to test drive the vehicle. That was the last time she saw the multicab which happened to be under repair in a shop she owned. Until now, it was not known where the multicab is and the unidentified woman is filing a case against the suspect.
Now holding the empty bag, the poor lady was made to pay by the original owner the amount of P70,000 in exchange for the lost vehicle.
The younger brother of Panglao Mayor Benedicto Alcala was also a victim. Bernard Alcala bought a KIA Rio sedan of P110,000 only to learn later that it was a mortgage vehicle whose real owner was a certain Mrs.Palwa from Balilihan. With the same modus, the sedan was rented by Cadampog from the Balilihan lady made a turn around and sold it to the unsuspecting Alcala. The poor woman from Balilihan had since gained possession of her car.
It was a â€œmiracleâ€ of sort for the woman because she and Alcala met at the police station complaining on the same con artist.