Man arrested for posing as DILG secretary asking for Marawi rehab funds
A man and his live-in partner are now facing a number of charges for posing as Undersecretary Catalino Cuy, officer in charge of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and extorting money from local government officials for financial aid allegedly for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Ricardo Simbulan, a 63-year-old driver from Pembo, Makati, and Mitus Sampayan were arrested in an entrapment operation in Makati at 6 p.m. on Thursday and will be charged with extortion and usurpation of authority.
They were nabbed on the basis of a mere P100 sent to them by a DILG employee through a money transfer service, with a remittance office on J.P. Rizal Street in Barangay Comembo, Makati, according to case investigator SPO3 Jimcie Acosta.
Police said Simbulan would call government officials introducing himself as Cuy and ask for P500,000 to help build shelters for 10 families at recently liberated Marawi City.
In a statement last Oct. 13, Cuy already issued a warning that DILG regional offices and LGUs had been receiving suspicious calls and messages, allegedly made by him or his staff, asking for cash for Marawi crisis victims.
“It should raise a red flag when the con artists begin to ask for your donation to be sent through money remmitance center or even a bank account,” Cuy said. “That’s not the right process to receive donations.”
Acosta said even even the DILG Cagayan Valley regional director, Jonathan Paul Leusen, thought he was talking with the DILG chief because the man had the same voice as Cuy’s.
Simbulan said he was only an “errand boy” of a certain Lito Perez.
He said Perez would just call him to pick up the money at the remittance office where it had been sent.
Cuy warned other would-be fraudsters that it would only be a matter of time before they would be caught.
“The hands of the law will reach fraudsters who are shamelessly using the name of poor Marawi evacuees to get money from unsuspecting victims,” he said. /atm
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