Five men on a bullet-riddled vehicle who allegedly shot it out with cops in Urdaneta, Pangasinan were supposed members of a carjacking syndicate, preying on rental vans and trucks in Region I, Region III, and Calabarzon.
The Innova they were using was also reported stolen.
Flagged down at a checkpoint, they sped off instead of stopping, and led authorities on a 15-minute chase.
When they reached Barangay Bayawas, the firefight broke out.
Four of the five men died on the spot, while one was brought to the hospital but eventually succumbed to gunshot wounds.
"Unang una po ipinaalarma nila yung sasakyan at ito nga ay nagkaron ng...nasabat natin yung sasakyan at nagkaron ng habulan," said Senior Superintendent Ronald Lee, Provincial Director of the Pangasinan Police.
(They were alarmed. There was a chase and we were able to intercept the vehicle.)
Pangasinan police have identified the slain men as Jomar delos Santos, Ronnie Chico, Arnold Bandara, and Gilbert Tiomico.
Another remains unidentified.
Police are now chasing another van that was spotted with the AUV before the firefight.
"Base sa impormasyon na galing sa Highway Patrol Group sila itong mga grupo na nagrerenta ng mga van at kanila itong ca-carnap-in at maliban dun sa pagcarnap ng van na kanilang nirenta ay pinapatay din nila yung driver ng van at pawang dalawang naging biktima nila dito ang itinapon dito sa Pangasinan, said Lee.
(Based on information from the Highway Patrol Group, this group rents vans which they then steal. They also kill the drivers. The bodies of two of their victims they dumped here in Pangasinan.)
Recovered from the suspects were four caliber .45 pistols, ammunition and several vehicle registration papers.
Meanwhile, PNP Task Force Limbas also raided an auto repair shop in Baguio City, where the group allegedly stashed stolen vehicles.
Police recovered three vehicles--all reported stolen--various car parts, and a warehouse full of chopped-up vehicles.
Five men have been taken into custody, including the shop's owner.