Prosecutor recommends estafa raps vs Annabelle Rama
CEBU CITY—A city prosecutor has recommended the filing of two cases of estafa in court against talent manager Annabelle Rama for purportedly defrauding her first cousin in the amount of almost P1.9 million.
In his resolution, Assistant City Prosecutor Alex Gabud found sufficient basis to indict Rama before the Regional Trial Court after she was accused of receiving money from the complainant, Jose Vicente Rama del Prado Jr., in exchange for two checks that later bounced.
In his complaint, Del Prado recalled that the talent manager approached him in November last year and asked him to exchange her checks for cash. He said Rama, who filed a certificate of candidacy for a seat in Congress in October 2012, wanted to borrow money for use in the election campaign.
Saying he had apprehensions at first, Del Prado gave in to Rama’s request and handed over P1.862 million for two Banco de Oro checks. He endorsed the checks to his brother who later discovered that Rama’s checking account in Banco de Oro was already closed.
Del Prado, a businessman based in Cebu, said he had sent notices of dishonor to Rama but the talent manager refused to fund or replace the bouncing checks.
In her counteraffidavit, Rama said she never borrowed money from Del Prado and that the case was “nothing but a vendetta suit” because she had exposed her cousin’s “betrayal” during the May elections.
Rama said her cousin was the one who convinced her to issue the P1.5-million check as a “show check” to impress a potential investor in an apartelle business he wanted to put up in Bohol. He was supposed to return the check to her after two weeks.
She said Del Prado filed the case to “cover up” for his act of rediscounting the checks she had issued, adding that she had paid with cash the bags and shoes she bought from him.
For this transaction, Rama filed a criminal complaint of estafa against Del Prado in Quezon City.
Assistant City Prosecutor Gabud, however, noted that “the various defenses raised by the respondent (Rama) creates doubts as to the veracity and truthfulness of her allegations.”
“It seems that she is not sure of what argument is suited in her case,” he pointed out.
“Consequently, the respondent’s defenses are evidentiary in nature and the undersigned deems it proper to elevate the case to the court so that the same may be threshed out during the full-blown hearing of these cases,” he added.
Gabud ordered the dismissal of the case for violation of Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 or the Anti-Bouncing Check Law against Rama since the checks were already deposited by the complainant beyond the 90-day period from the date appearing in the checks.
Rama’s lawyer, Earl Bonachita, said he had not yet received a copy of the resolution but added that he would contest it.
Del Prado’s lawyer, Mark Elton Garrote, said he would ask the prosecutor to reconsider the dismissal of the case for violation of BP 22.
Rama said she felt betrayed by Del Prado and that the case was meant to expose her to public ridicule.
Del Prado’s mother and Rama’s late father are siblings. Rama, who lost to Rep. Raul del Mar of Cebu City’s north district, is also the cousin of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.
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