January 13, 2012
In the relentless crackdown against syndicated swindling, agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) busted a Budol-Budol Gang victimizing foreigners of millions of pesos, following the arrest of the mastermind and two members during a buy-bust in Manila late last week.
In a report submitted to DOJ Secretary Leila M. De Lima by Atty. Edmund Arugay, NBI Deputy Director for Special Investigation Services, the suspects were identified as:
1. ISAGANI CAMSON Y COLONA, 43, residing at AFP Officer Village, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, leader & financier;
2. EDILBERTO CORDETA Y NOQUERA alias JOSE CANETE, 54, with address at Punta Baja, Rizal, Palawan, back-up & lookout; and
3. ALEX ARCA Y ROMAL alias DODONG, 42, residing at Mabuhay, Gen. Santos City, South Cotabato, driver & switcher.
The NBI recently received information about a group selling gold bars. Investigation disclosed that it was actually a Budol-budol gang peddling fake gold bars to foreign nationals. A buy-bust operation was planned after they were contacted during which an undercover agent with a Japanese national will buy their stuff.
In the evening of January 6, 2012, NBI Reaction, Arrest and Interdiction Division (RAID) operatives under Head Agent Jonathan Ross Galicia proceeded to a 5-star hotel in Adriatico St., Ermita, Manila. With them were an undercover agent and a Japanese national who were able to convince the gang that they were interested in buying a gold bar which was priced at P5 million.
Thereafter, the duo were brought to a Nissan car parked along Adriatico St. where they were shown the gold bar and tested and trailed by NBI agents. The gang then demanded for payment, and as the amount was being given to suspect Camson a pre-arranged signal was made. Operatives rushed and arrested Camson , who alleged to be an ISAFP operative.
Identification cards seized from him shows that he is the President of CHRISMU Philippines, Inc., an NGO soliciting funds for underprivileged Christians and Muslims allegedly with accreditation with the PNP, NBI, DEPED, DENR, Supreme Court, AFP, Office of the President, and the United Nations. He is also the Vice-president for operations of Hideya Waste Management Corp., in Proj. 6, Quezon City.
Suspect, Edilberto Cordeta, appears to be the Operations Manager of Cordealic Industries, Inc. in Punta Baja, Rizal, Palawan. Several driver's licenses with his photos were confiscated from him with the names Jose Canete, Noel Canete, and Augusto Nunez. The third suspect, Alex Arca has several derogatory records to his name including service of sentence for swindling in Davao City.
The modus operandi of the gang starts with alluring a prospective victim (usually foreign nationals) and the syndicate would pass themselves as well-off and conduct business in a 5-star hotel. They would show pictures of gold bars, researched materials and identified locations of hidden treasures. A sample of the gold bar would be shown and tested before the prospective buyer. It yields positive for gold by switching gold dust bought in a jewelry store from the one perforated from the fake gold bar. Once payment is made, the group vanishes.
The group was brought before the Manila City Prosecutor's Office for inquest proceedings for Estafa under Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code, Usurpation of Authority of Official Function (Art. 177 of RPC), Using Fictitious Name and Concealing True Name (Art. 178). Additional charges will be filed as soon as the requested documents from other government agencies arrive. They are presently in NBI custody while awaiting the disposition of their cases.