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ROUGH CUTS | Collaborative probe needed

WE fully agree with newly installed National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director in Region XI that
there still remains a number of scammers among supposed to be investment companies not just in
Region XI but in the whole country as well.

NBI Regional Director lawyer Arcelito Albao in a television interview the other day said that despite
dismantling of Ponze scheme companies and apprehension of its officials many are still complaining that
they have been victimized of such illegal activities in the region. And this is happening even after some
major “double or triple your money” firms that have gypped several gullible residents in the Davao
region of millions of pesos of their hard-earned money were busted by law enforcers in succession.

The biggest in fact was the Kappa group that masqueraded as a church-based organization. Then there was
the Regent. The two were reported to be closely backed by certain politicians. This alleged association is
the reason why the firms thrived for long and seem to have survived even after the arrest of some of its

The ones who really made a killing in the Ponze-inspired scams first were of course the organizers of
the pseudo companies. The second who most benefited from the money of subscribers were those who
invested earlier.

From the tone of the NBI regional top man he seems to advance the notion that the reason why the
firms continue to exist is because many of our Kababayans still entertain the idea that investing in such
kind of venture will give them quick returns. Somehow, there was the insinuation that it is these
people’s gullibility that made them lose their money.

Yes, of course. People really find it difficult to learn lessons brought about by such scams that some
still easily succumb to the glib-tongued agents mostly early investors who boast the fruits of their
subscription in order to convince others.
We therefor urge the NBI to pursue without let-up its probe on the continuous prevalence of these
investment scammers. The agency has to bring to the court of law the officials of those firms and not
just make general statements on its existence.


Talking of the NBI announcing it will help in the investigation on the death of one Evonette Plaza, who
was claimed to be a businesswoman sidelining as model sometime shortly after Christmas in front of her
residence, the move may bolster the chances of identifying the culprits as well as the one who ordered
the killing.

But should the NBI probe be parallel or should it be collaborative in nature with that of the police? Or
would it be totally independent? We cannot help but ask the questions because it would appear that the
NBI’s intervention is indicative of the failure of the police to get into the core of the crime. Moreover, if
the agency’s coming into the picture upon request of the family of the victims, it could easily be
interpreted the former’s lack of trust on the police probers.
But how far will the NBI go given the possibility that its intervention may not bode well with the

Indeed the agencies concerned should learn from the experience in several previous parallel
investigative efforts. The results and the recommendations are literally “sidelined” when it reaches the
prosecution’s desk because of conflicts in the findings.

Take for example that case of the non-uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in
this region. The personnel was witnessed by many to have shot dead a young man who the suspect
culprit claimed was one of his early attackers. The NBI probe recommended that based on evidence the
agency’s investigators gathered the perpetrator deserved to be sued for murder.

However, after reviewing the findings of both the police and the NBI, the murder charge was down-
graded to simple homicide. It is our take that the fiscal might have found inconsistencies in the probe
results of the two law enforcement agencies. Hence, the prosecutor’s resolution was for a down-grade.
Now is such outcome in any collaborative investigation not frustrating?

We hope that upon the NBI’s coming into the probe of the Plaza slaying, the agency must sit down
with the police and lay down in the clearest term all the parameters needed to be able to arrive at a
very acceptable probe outcome.


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