AN ABS-CBN program coordinator was held for questioning for alleged car theft but was eventually released by the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) last week after she was found driving an SUV lost by its registered owner to the so-called ‘Assume Balance/Pasalo’ car theft scheme, People’s Tonight learned yesterday.
Fredizminda Salanga, 44, a resident of Navotas City, was freed by the HPG with the consent of the complainant after she managed to prove that she did not steal the Ford Everest (AAH-8323) since a suspected member of the syndicate only ‘pawned’ it to her husband Alden. The man who pawned the SUV turned out to be a common friend of the couple from Bulacan. He is now being sought for questioning by the PNP-HPG.
In a report to PNP-HPG director Chief Supt. Arnel B. Escobal, HPG Special Operations Division-Task Force Limbas chief, Supt. Jonathan G. Calixto said that Salanga was turned over to them by the Caloocan City police after she was intercepted driving the white Everest registered under the name of one Bernard de Rosales of Malolos City, Bulacan.
The PNP-HPG report said that on the night of September 7, De Rosales was on his way home with his wife and a friend when he accidentally chanced upon his missing SUV near SM City North EDSA.
De Rosales tailed the vehicle and after seeing a group of patrolling Caloocan City policemen along Samson Road, he immediately blocked the path of the vehicle while his wife called for assistance from the three officers manning Mobile 191 of the Caloocan police.
Hearing the complaint of the victims, the Caloocan policemen brought Salanga and the vehicle in question to their headquarters where the woman and the complainants had a confrontation.
Following coordination with the Caloocan police, a team of officers from SOD-Task Force Limbas, led by Insp. German Jones Litdog and Senior Police Officer 1 Ariel Opaco, brought the two parties and the vehicle to the HPG Headquarters in Camp Crame for further investigation.
Calixto said they found out the Everest is included in the HPG watchlist under Hold-Order No. 20170817 after it was reported by De Rosales as one of vehicles acquired thru the ‘Pasalo/Assume Balance’ modus operandi perpetrated by one Joe Mark Norico, who was arrested last August 31.
However, during investigation, Salanga claimed that the Everest was merely ‘pawned’ to her husband Alden by their common friend whom they identified only as ‘Danny’ of Bulacan. Calixto said they will turn over the vehicle to the bank.
The incident came as the PNP-HPG leadership warned the public to be wary of the existence of well-organized syndicates involved in the so-called ‘Rent Sangla, Rent Tangay’ scheme and now the newly-discovered ‘Assume Balance/Pasalo’ car scheme.