Driver tagged in rent-a-car scam not arrested: police

MIDSAYAP, North Cotabato – This town’s police chief said Wednesday the driver of a vehicle allegedly involved in a rent-a-car scam was neither arrested nor charged.

In an interview, Lt. Col. John Miredel Calinga said Hernie Abaranni Mabalo, 46, of Zamboanga City, was not arrested contrary to earlier report by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

“He and Mustapha Bansil, the alleged owner, talked at our police office and agreed not to file charges anymore because they learned they were all victims of this rent-a-car scam,” Calinga said.

On December 19, elements of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion flagged down a black Toyota Fortuner at a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Sadaan, Midsayap.

Bansil, a resident of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao, who happened to pass by the highway, noticed the vehicle and claimed it was the same vehicle involved in a controversial rent-a-car trader in Cotabato City in 2016 that had gone missing.

Mabalo, a former National Intelligence Coordinating Agency deputy director in the Davao region, said the vehicle was not stolen and showed proof to soldiers and police that he acquired the car for about PHP300,000.

Calinga said Mabalo was very polite in explaining to police authorities how he acquired the vehicle and that it was done in good faith.

Bansil, on the other hand, was no longer interested to reclaim the car since its amortization to the bank has accumulated beyond his capacity to pay.

The car is still at the Midsayap police station compound. (PNA)


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