Saturday, August 9, 2014

Bongbong tells Pinoys ; don’t be duped by ‘Marcos scams’

JAEN, Nueva Ecija – The son and namesake of late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. on Saturday called on Filipinos not to be deceived by people claiming to be caretakers of the socalled Marcoses’ wealth, promising to give huge amounts and money and vast tracts of land from the family fortune, dismissing  their gimmicks as scams.

          “These are all scams and don’t fall for it,” said Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at a press conference in Barangay Langla here.

          The younger Marcos was referring to the reported operations of groups of people who claimed to be caretakers of Marcos assets worth billions of pesos. He said the money racket has been practically operating in many provinces in the country, claiming to have ties with the Marcoses.

          “This has become all too-prevalent and we warn you, don’t let yourself be fooled by these people,” he said.      

          Marcos issued the warning after newsmen brought to his attention the activities of syndicates, including two suspects who claimed to be caretakers of the Marcos assets.

          Only recently, he said, they were able to apprehend someone posing as their relative who was engaged in fund-raising using the Marcoses’ name.

          Early this year, two suspects were also charged for milking money from individuals. The suspects, identified as Felicisima Cantos and Emmanuel Destura   demanded money from 81 individuals supposedly to have their share of the Marcos wealth.

The National Bureau of Investigation said that in January 2012, Destura and Cantos introduced themselves to complainants as caretakers of the Marcos assets and talked them into investing in their company called Bullion Buyers Limited with office address in China.

The two also persuaded them to recruit more members nationwide so that accordingly, by numbers, they have their strength as claimants of the Marcos’ wealth and could have more company shares.

          After investing P2,000 each, the suspects promised the victims a profit of P5 million to $5 million. But the suspects failed to deliver the promise, prompting the victims to seek NBI help.                        

In Southern Leyte, a massive tree planting project operating under the acronym FIRM for “Friends of Imelda Romualdez Marcos” has been attracting thousands of members in the province with the promise they would share the gold bullions of the former First Lady which is alleged stashed away in 177 foreign banks.

Under the scheme all that was needed to join FIRM was to buy and plant a mahogany tree, build a red fence around it, pay a P300 registration fee (which entitles the member to a red T-shirt) and the applicant would automatically qualify for a share of Imelda’s wealth at between P700,000 to P1 million per member.

According to Southern Leyte State University President Dr. Gloria Markines Reyes, she learned about the project from Bontoc Vice Mayor Pedro Fustanes who told her that some of his supporters had asked him if they could join FIRM since it was easy money.

Fustanes said he advised them not to since it had all the makings of a scam but that some had already planted the trees and had paid the membership fee.

One of the victims said many of his friends had even borrowed money to join FIRM because they believed the organization was legitimate and qualified them for riches beyond their imagination. He said they were also promised free education, employment and housing.

FIRM was organized in 2000, formerly composed of Marcos loyalists. Its critics claim its goal was to keep the groups supporting the former president intact and to serve as the nationwide organization for the senator’s presidential campaigns.

          The senator disowned the movement and said their family does not operate that way. – Manny Galvez

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