Con artist who impersonated ranking gov’t officials nabbed in Laguna
A con artist wanted for impersonating ranking government officials to extort money has been arrested by authorities in Laguna, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde said Friday.
Albayalde said Vimbi Avilla was arrested on Tuesday in Barangay San Vicente in San Pedro City by members of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), San Pablo City Police, the Regional Public Safety Battalion Special Weapons and Tactics team, and the military intelligence unit.
Seized from Avilla was a .38-caliber revolver, a hand grenade, phone sim cards and four cell phones he supposedly used to call his victims.
Avilla was arrested by virtue of a search warrant issued by the San Pablo City Regional Trial Court Branches 29 and 32 for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act) and RA 9516 (Amended law on illegal/unlawful possession of explosives).
Albayalde said Avilla had victimized several congressmen by pretending to be former Vice Pres. Jejomar Binay, former National Irrigation Authority chief Peter Laviña, Department of Transportation Sec. Arthur Tugade, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla.
Avilla, whom Albayalde described to have the skills similar to impersonator Willie Nepomuceno, had also impersonated Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge Sec. Eduardo Año.
“Ganun yung style niya, marunong siya magpalit ng boses. [Kapag] naririnig mo kasi yung tao lalo na kung kilalang kilala at laging lumalabas sa TV, alam mo yung tunog ng boses ganyan din ang ginagaya niya,” Albayalde said.
(That’s what his style is, he can change his voice. Because if you’re familiar with a person, especially if he is popular and often seen on TV, you know his voice and that’s what he [Avilla] does.)
“So kung ikaw kung dinig mo yung boses kung very familiar ka sa boses niya, maniniwala ka,” he added.
(So if you’re the victim, and you are familiar with the voice Avilla is copying, you will believe him.)
Albayalde said many of Avilla’s victims were elected government officials, but he declined to identify them.
Avilla was previously arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Manila Police District for robbery and attempted murder case.
He is currently under the custody of the CIDG Regional Force Unit 4-A. /muf
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