SWINDLING SUSPECTS. Col. Chito Bersaluna (seated, left), Director of the Bulacan Police Provincial Office and Lt. Col. Augusto Asuncion (seated, right), Chief of Police of San Miguel town, present to the media the three arrested suspected members of the "budol-budol" gang at Camp Alejo Santos in Malolos, Bulacan on Tuesday (July 2, 2019). The suspects, according to the police, have duped their victims of a total of PHP1 million. (Photo by Manny Balbin)
CAMP ALEJO SANTOS, Bulacan -- Three members of the notorious "budol-budol" (swindling) gang were arrested in Barangay Camias, San Miguel town, this province on Monday afternoon.
Col. Chito Bersaluna, provincial director of Bulacan Police Provincial Office, identified the suspects as Leonora Canoza, 48; James Conquia, 22; and June Pascual, 50, all residents of Jaen, Nueva Ecija.
"Another suspect is still at large. He was identified as John John Pascual, a resident of Cabanatuan City," Bersaluna told newsmen during a press conference here on Tuesday.
San Miguel Police Station acting chief of police, Lt. Col. Augusto Asuncion, identified one of the group's victims as Maria Teresa Vergel, 57, a widow and resident of Barangay Camias, San Miguel.
Investigation showed that the four suspects approached the victim, who was later on enticed to give them PHP20,000 cash.
In exchange, the suspects left a counterfeit Metrobank automated teller machine card and check worth PHP20,000 as "collateral".
"Magaling magsalita at mahusay mag-drama yung suspek na si Leonora. Parang tulala ako at nahihiptosismo (The suspect Leonora is a sweet talker and was good in acting. It was as if I was hypnotized)," the victim said.
The three suspects were arrested in an operation conducted by San Miguel police after the victim reported the incident to barangay officials.
Other victims who showed up at the police station upon learning of the suspects’ arrest were Christine Balaja, Babilyn Violago and Cristina Joson, all from San Ildefonso, Bulacan who were duped into giving PHP20,000, PHP21,000 and PHP41,000, respectively; Risalina Hernandez and Evelyn Galang, both from San Miguel, Bulacan, who gave PHP20,000 and PHP15,000, respectively.
It was learned that the suspects managed to cart away a total of more than PHP1 million from all their victims.
Bersaluna called on other victims in other parts of the province as well in neighboring areas to report to the nearest police station and file a case against the swindlers. (PNA)