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Police Accused as Carnappers? Boholanos Victimized
« on: October 04, 2007, 08:03:39 AM »
Published by Bohol Sunday Post

How do you distinguish between the lawless and the lawmen?

This was the question bugging at least three car owners whose vehicles were confiscated on suspicion that they were stolen. Despite the three's vehement protestations, a composite team of Traffic Management Group (TMG) operatives seized the vehicles in separate operations.

The three were all Mitsubishi Adventures and owned by Handel Sarabosing and Isidro Manalo, all of Dauis town and Nilo Sapong of Remolador Ext., this city. The three cars which the TMG operatives suspected to be carnapped were part of at least eight alleged stolen vehicles seized during separate operations the other week. The confiscation of suspected carnapped vehicles triggered an uproar a week after when the car owners went on radio to protest the manner of the seizure.

The vehicle owners castigated the lawmen of arrogance and misdemeanor as they carried out the job of ferreting out carnapped vehicles. Feeling offended, Manalo and Sarabosing filed separate cases of carnapping against the apprehending team, namely Inspector Doroteo Tolentino, PO2 Edwin Santos, PO3 Jason Calimba and PO2 Eddie Maruhom, all of the TMG regional office based in Cebu. In their affidavits, both Manalo and Sarabosing decried the manner by which they were divested of their vehicles. Assisted by lawyer Salvador Diputado, the carnapping cases were filed Friday before the city prosecutor's office.

Sarabosing narrated that one of the respondents identified as PO2 Edwin Santos boarded his car and ordered him to proceed to Camp Dagohoy . When the owner demanded for a warrant or an order, the arresting officer shouted at him and said he did not need to show one because he was sure that the car was stolen.

In the case of Manalo, he said he went to Camp Dagohoy after he was called up by Sarabosing. It turned out that it was from Manalo that Sarabosing bought the suspected carnapped car. Sapong also got his car from Manalo. While at Camp Dagohoy , Manalo said the TMG men led by Inspector Tolentino borrowed his car key after knowing that he was the seller of Sarabosing's Mitsubishi. According to the arresting agents, in borrowing Manalo's key, they wanted to check the engine serial number. It was the last time that Manalo saw his car. Right then and there, the agents confiscated the vehicle and told him that it was stolen and therefore should be kept at the camp.

The ordeal of Sapong in the hands of the TMG lawmen was practically the same. While driving, he was also flagged down by the team and seized the vehicle on suspicion that it was a hot car. Along with a Nissan Urvan, the four vehicles were transported to Cebu for so-called micro etching, a procedure in the Cebu Crime Laboratory to determine if the chassis and motor numbers are tampered and therefore carnapped.

The four vehicles subjected to micro etching were part of a total of eight vehicles confiscated by the TMG on the belief that they were stolen. The TMG said some 20 vehicles were believed dumped in Bohol and believed to be hot cars. In a check with Police Inspector Eduardo Mara, chief of TMG-Bohol, he confirmed that of the eight only the Starex Van was confirmed to be carnapped. It was bought by Ed Macalandag, city planning and development officer.

The van and three others—Nissan Urvan, Mitsubishi Adventure, and Isuzu Crosswind are yet to be confirmed if they were carnapped. Inspector Mara made the revelation about the status of the eight seized cars during an investigation conducted by the committee on public order and safety chaired by Board Member Alfonso Damalerio II.

During the same investigation held last week by the Damalerio committee, Mara intimated that a syndicate is believed to be responsible for the dumping of carnapped vehicles in Bohol . Also in the same hearing were PO3 Florentino Diola of the Bohol PNP Crime Laboratory and Joel Maloloy-on, registrar of the Land Transportation Office-Tagbilaran. When Damalerio curiously asked Mara what he meant by syndicate, he did not elaborate.

This led committee members to presume that he knew entirely nothing about the syndicate or he was just trying to cover its tracts. Board Member Josil Trabajo, a committee member, who was stunned of the revelation, asked who are the personalities behind this syndicate, Mara answered that a certain “Mr. Lim.” But Lim's first name was not divulge. “The source of this Starex (Hyundai),” Mara said, “ that (is) recovered last week is Mr. Lim.” But Mara was unable to recall Mr. Lim's first name. This prompted Damalerio to warn Mara not to mention any name if he was not certain because this might impute those whose family names are Lim knowing that a lot of people are surnamed Lim.

DEALERS IN BOHOL SELLING ‘HOT CARS'


The TMG operations in this city not only yielded criminal cases but also stirred a hornets' nest. It also brought to the open the revelation that some car dealers dealing in second hand vehicles are fronts for “hot cars” One irony of this entire episode was that all the so-called carnapped vehicles were registered with the local LTO. But the LTO-Tagbilaran said they require the owners of used vehicles to submit a certificate of clearance from the TMG before the vehicles were registered. All the eight seized vehicles were said to have been given clearance by the TMG causing them to be registered by the LTO without any question asked.

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Re: Police Accused as Carnappers? Boholanos Victimized
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2007, 01:32:01 PM »
I have some experience on this.  Three agencies are involved in this mess: TMG, LTO, and PNP CRIME LAB.  If you ask any one of these 3 agencies why the problem proliferates, each one will point at the 2 others to be in cahoots with the carnappers.  In fact, if you will scan the archives of Sunstar Cebu Newspaper, there was a news item sometime early this year that reported a near shootout between a group of TMG men and a group of CRIMELAB men over this insinuation.  The incident happened right in front of their offices which are just a stone’s throw away from each other inside Camp Sotero Cabahug, in Cebu City. 

Mr. Sarabosing’s reaction reminds me of exactly the same way how my friend in Cebu City resisted when she was flagged down by TMG operatives early last year.  Like Mr. Sarabosing, my friend also got the same line from the TMG --- “we don’t need court order because we are sure that your car is hot car”.  In her fit of anger my friend was tempted to ask what made the TMG man sure?  My friend’s companion also sarcastically injected a question, “if this is a carnapped vehicle, how did you know sir that this is the new plate number”?  And you know what happened to my dear friend after that?  She got all the cases filed by the TMG for CARNAPPING, ANTI-FENCING, and FALSIFICATION. 

According to her lawyer, my friend could never be charged with any of those crimes because firstly, she was an innocent purchaser; secondly, there was a named seller in the deed of sale; and thirdly, the car dealer appeared in the investigation and disclosed the name of his source of the car.  Because of that, my friend’s lawyer filed criminal charges for dereliction of duty against the TMG men.

Then last May 20, 2007, we were all amazed to see a banner story in the Sunstar Newspaper which read, “Accident leads to arrest of syndicate head.”  “Marcelo T. Cabahug faces 20 carnapping cases, identifies himself as a major at RTMO 7 to CIDG official.”  We were amazed because it was the same name mentioned by the broker as the source of my friend’s car, but despite that, the TMG refused to file a case against him.  Rightly so, the TMG won’t run after him because he carries a TMG I.D., a Major at that, although fake.  But what is more surprising is that the TMG did not even disown him after the arrest?   

But the remaining unsolved puzzle is why the TMG is only after of recovering hotcars, but not apprehending the carnappers?  Is TMG really meant at solving the carnapping menace with this kind of approach?   With this Bohol incident, I bet, you will hear nothing about TMG’s action against the source of those hot cars.  Instead, what you will surely hear in due time is that the TMG already turned over those vehicles to the Insurance Company who insured those cars at the time of loss, they being subrogated to the shoes of the original owner as a matter of law.   To my mind, this is a multi-million dollar question, even bigger than the ZTE Broadband Deal.  To whom does TMG work for?  If they work for the state, they should run after the carnappers.  But if they work for the insurance companies, then its just right that they will only be up at recovering those hot cars equipped not with court orders but with personal knowledge as to the whereabouts, new plate numbers or even  new colors of those hotcars.




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