Gracy Fernandez, the founder and managing director of Graventure, the car rental platform backed by boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, has revealed that she has fallen victim to ?rent sangla? or ?rent tangay? scheme.
Fernandez said her vehicle, a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, was carnapped by a 58-year-old civil engineer who pretended to be in need of a rental vehicle.
She said she decided to tell her story to serve as a lesson for all car owners in the country and future users of her tech startup.
According to the Highway Patrol Group and Philippine National Police files, after Fernandez handed over the keys to a old woman who wanted to rent her Montero Sport for two days on Sunday, June 17, she absconded with the vehicle and has not been seen since.
The alleged old woman in this incident, a certain Anabelle Ventura Piedad, pretended to be in need of a vehicle for driving around Metro Manila or Luzon, but is actually a gambling addict down on her luck in losses and in need of quick cash.
According to the PNP, Ventura had been approached by a ?runner? that convinced her to serve as the artista in this ?rent sangla? scheme. Upon successfully acquiring the Montero Sport from Fernandez, Ventura and the runner went from casino to casino in search of an ?agent? who could broker a deal with a ?financier? for cash value for the car.
Ventura and the runner were looking for those who would accept a clearly stolen vehicle, according to PNP. They tried unsuccessfully to pawn the vehicle on June 18 and June 19. No one believed that the vehicle belonged to Ventura, even though she had produced fake documents claiming the vehicle was owned by her son.
According to the PNP, on the morning of June 20, Ventura and the runner were given P40,000 up-front cash from an agent, who promised to return with more but never did. Ventura?s share was P20,000 representing a profit of P4,000 from the P16,000 rent and deposit money she had given to Fernandez.
The PNP said Ventura is a licensed civil engineer. She had provided Fernandez with her real Philippine passport, SSS ID, and professional regulation commission ID.
On her Facebook before the incident, Ventura, 58, had photos of her posing with her many children and grandchildren. Some comments even referred to her as ?pastora,? indicating some leadership involvement at her church.
Ventura is now facing charges including carnapping, attempt to conceal carnapping, estafa, and falsification of public documents.
The suspect is currently in hiding, but has made several calls to Fernandez in an attempt to disavow herself of any culpability, going so far as to point the finger at several agents and financiers she insists are the true culprits, even though she was the one who arranged the rental and pawned the vehicle.
Though Fernandez is unsure if she will get her Montero Sport back, she said she wants to use the incident as a teaching moment for all car renters in the Philippines.
?Given that Ventura is a former professional, it just goes to show that you can never be too safe. There will always be carnappers looking for quick cash. When incidents like this occur, we must do what we can to respond swiftly in search of justice. We need to fight back as a community to deter future criminals from seeing this as an easy crime,? said Fernandez, who noted that some of the technology behind Graventure will minimize these crimes.
Fernandez, in particular, pointed to several features on the Graventure platform, set to launch in the third quarter of this year, that will maximize safety.
One is the automatic vetting of submitted identification against national databases to ensure that they are real. Another is the proprietary GPS system that will be installed in each car. And last is the remote deactivation of cars should any issues arise.
If you have any information about the carnapped Montero Sport, there is a P50,000 reward. Please contact: Gracy Fernandez at