Estafa raps filed vs. 6 in “budol-budol” scam
posted 14-Aug-2018  ·  
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Six people from Metro Manila who tried to escape from the island after victimizing at least 10 people in a “budol-budol” scam are now in jail after estafa charges were filed against them before the Regional Trial Court last week.

The Virac police identified the suspects as Steve Firmo Tan, 43, of San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City; Dave Paglinawan dela Cruz, 38, of Torres Village, Novaliches, Quezon City; Richie Sebastian, 30, of Novaliches, Quezon City; Marilou Balingit Soriano, 52, of Pangarap, Caloocan City; Evangeline Gases Badilla, 43, of Nagkaisang-Nayon, Novaliches, Quezon City, and Elmer Bangilan Aggabao, 53, of 155 Aquarius St., Caloocan City.

A separate charge for possession of illegal drug will be filed against Aggabao after a body search conducted on him at the San Andres port where the group was collared turned up two small plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance believed to be shabu.

Catanduanes Police Provincial Director Senior Superintendent Felix Servita Jr. also said the group could face other charges as the van was sporting a PNP sticker and that a police ID was also found together with five boxes of frozen meat products and undetermined cash.

According to the sworn statement of businesswoman Armie Villanueva, 27, a man came to her store at Zamboanga Farm in Cavinitan, Virac at 8 A.M. of Aug. 1, 2018 and offered her and her live-in partner, Tristan Ramos, products of Bounty Fresh.

 The man claimed they would only select one dealer for the products to ensure profits but Villanueva, who was convinced of the offer, told him to come back as she would discuss it with her partner.

At 11 A.M., the man returned, carrying a piece of paper marked “Purchase Promo” wherein the victim chose to avail of the “test market” of P7,260.00 worth of assorted products.

At 1:30 P.M., the man came back with the products but she discovered that they were not Bounty Fresh products. The man replied that it was only the chicken that came from Bounty Fresh and that he would bring it the following day together with the stand-up freezer being offered as give-away.

As she handed over the payment, the man left in a hurry, promising her to give her the receipt when the products are completely delivered by 5 P.M., including the “free taste” of the products.

When the time came, no man or product arrived, prompting her to call the cellphone number he gave. But nobody was answering so she sent a text message which also went unanswered an hour later. She felt at the time that she had been duped, so she called the tricycle driver who brought the man there, Paolo Romero.

The driver said he picked the man up along Moonwalk road near the house of former Gov. Cely Wong and the passenger alighted near the Master Siomai outlet in front of the Virac Town Center.

It was then that they went to file a complaint at the Virac police where other victims went to inform authorities regarding several persons engaging in “budol-budol” with frozen products and using a white Isuzu van with plate number TBQ 921.

SPO2 Louie Garcia and PO2 Richard Pereyra, acting on the instructions of Chief Inspector Josefino Titong Jr., coordinated with local hotels and lodging establishments as well as the Virac and San Andres ports.

At 5:30 A.M. the following morning, Aug. 2, the two lawmen together with victims Armie Vlllanueva, Tristan Ramos, Nelson Lopez and tricycle driver Rommel Somido, went to San Andres port where they saw the white Isuzu van about to be loaded on M/V Calixta bound for Tabaco.

They entered the ferry and on the third deck, the victims positively identified the suspects as the ones who collected money from them.

In a separate statement, Somido, 35, a sales agent from Marinawa, Bato, claimed that he was driving his tricycle picking up passengers at 1 P.M. of Aug. 1 when he was flagged down by a tall man who asked him if they could deliver goods to Bigaa. He noticed that there were about 10 of them.

When Somido agreed, the man loaded two ice boxes containing plastic bags of frozen goods such as tocino, longganisa, hotgog, bologna and others. Two women joined him on the tricycle.

They went to Bigaa where one box and several plastic bags were unloaded at the store of Mary Jane Somido, 35, and Nelson Lopez.

The scammers told the couple that they would take charge of the electricity, freezer, cooler and rent of the store as well as free taste of the products. She was convinced to sign up for the promo costing P17,200.00.

The trio left and then came back at 1 P.M. together with the products, for which Somido paid in cash.

They said they would be back at 4 P.M. together with the retailers who will buy the products.

When she advised Lopez to inventory the delivered products to find out how much it actually cost, the scammers told them not to touch the goods and then hurriedly left.

When 4 P.M. came and no customer or free taste arrived, she told Lopez to call the number left by the suspects. The phone could not be contacted at the time but it rang at 7 P.M. and a woman answered, claiming that there was no signal in their area and that they would be back tomorrow.

Among the other victims were Fe Tomagan Gianan, 65, of Calatagan Tibang who paid P8,275.00 for the frozen goods, only to be told by her child that it was a “budol-budol” scam based on the receipt left by the suspects; Virginia Vargas Urbano, 44, of Airport Road, San Isidro Village, Virac, who had to borrow P500 from her neighbor just to be a member of the frozen food promo; Lea Fernandez Romero, 58, of Pajo Baguio, who paid P13,280.00 for the goods and a promise of electricity subsidy of P1,500.00 a month; and, Rosemarie Gamueda Bartolome, 43, of Sogod-Tibgao (BLISS), who gave the same amount to the tall man later identified as Aggabao.


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