Con men riding on Duterte threat to declare revolutionary gov’t
DAVAO CITY — Despite repeated government warnings about a scam perpetrated in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte, several residents of Kitcharao town in Agusan del Norte were duped by a woman claiming to have close ties with Malacañang.
The woman, according to a former village official, has been asking for money in exchange for supposed “appointments” for local positions under Mr. Duterte’s revolutionary government.
George Montil, former village councilman of the village of Crossing Kitcharao, said a certain Isabelita Libarnes had been going around town, claiming she had already been appointed governor, although of what province was not clear.
Libarnes, he said, has been recruiting “possible appointees” to positions that would be created under the supposed revolutionary government of Mr. Duterte.
The alleged con artist also claimed that a prerequisite for appointment was membership to the so-called People’s Congress, which was supposed to be Malacañang-approved.
Montil said those who were duped were made to pay P250 as registration fee, with an assurance that their appointments as village officials were guaranteed.
Montil admitted he was among those that Libarnes had hoodwinked but not about appointments. He said he had shelled out P15,000 in “humanitarian aid” in exchange for hundreds of thousands of pesos that he was promised in return.
He said he confronted Libarnes and demanded that she return the money because it was from a farm lot that he had pawned.
Libarnes, however, just tried to “trick me again,” Montil said. He said Libarnes promised him more money as a village official to be appointed under the revolutionary government.
Montil said he did not report to police because he feared it would make Libarnes disappear.
Montil said he was hoping Libarnes would eventually be convinced to return his money.
The Inquirer tried but failed several times to reach Libarnes, a resident of Tubod town, also in Surigao del Norte, for comment. She could also not be located anymore.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has been sending out warnings against groups reportedly recruiting appointees for the revolutionary government.
“The so-called Peoples’ Congress is a scam,” said Assistant Interior Secretary Epimaco Densing III. —Chris Panganiban