FOR months, police have been tracking these merciless criminals who rent vans from unsuspecting drivers-owners in Metro Manila and nearby provinces before killing them in cold-blood and stealing their motor vehicles.
Their end came early morning yesterday when combined agents of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office and the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group shot dead five heavily-armed suspects in a running gunbattle in Urdaneta City, Police Regional Office 1 director Chief Supt. Gregorio R. Pimentel said.
Pimentel said the five suspected “Rent-Tangay Gang” members were on board a stolen silver Toyota Innova (NRQ-496) when they clashed with the lawmen in Zone 3, Bgy. Nancalobasaan, Urdaneta City. Also found inside the wagon were two PNO athletic uniforms, one PNP bull cap and identification cards.
The slain suspects were identified as Jomar Esguerra delos Santos, 23, of Bgy. Masapit, San Miguel, Bulacan; Ronnie G. Chico, of Arcinas, San Miguel, Bulacan; Arnold Pilot Bandara, 30, of Purok 2, Bgy. Bass, Trento, Agusan del Sur; and Gilbert Bacunawa Trimico, 23, of 4929 Durian St., Sta. Mesa, Manila. The fifth suspect, who was wearing white T-shirt and blue maong pants, was still unidentified.
The official said that the lawmen, who were under the supervision of Pangasinan police director Senior Supt. Ronald O. Lee, chased the suspects and cornered them in Bgy. Nancalabosaan where the five were killed in a shootout. “We’ve finally put an end to the criminal career of these heartless men who have left many young kids without fathers and turned many women into young widows,” said Pimentel.
Recovered from the slain suspects’ possession were four loaded cal. .45 pistols and a plastic sachet containing suspected shabu. The suspects’ real identities are still being checked as of press time. The owner of the stolen van is also being notified by the Pangasinan police regarding the recovery of the vehicle.
Lee said the suspects were responsible for carnapping and highway robberies committed within Regions 4A, 3, 1, NCR and Cordillera Administrative Region.
Three of their victims were identified as Joselito Umali Santiago, alias Jojo of Sitio Wawa, Bgy. San Sebastian, Hagonoy, Bulacan, the registered owner and driver of Toyota Grandia (AVA 8484) which was rented by the suspects on Dec. 9, 2015. The victim’s body was dumped in Binalonan, Pangasinan; Joel Tubig Lulu Sr., 48, married, of Sta. Rita, Nacabebe, Pampanga, whose body was dumped in Bgy. Babasit, Manaoag, Pangasinan; and Joel Canono Orbillo, 33, single, of Sitio Balsa, San Isidro, Tarlac City, the driver of a D4D Toyota Commuter (XY 6788) whose body was dumped in a canal along the national highway in Bgy. Asan Sur, Sison, Pangasinan.