April 13, 2024 People's Journal 88 views

TAKING a firm stand against fraud, Budget and Management Secretary Mina F. Pangandaman has issued a stern warning to the public about scammers impersonating DBM officials for financial gain.

The warning comes in light of a recent operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which resulted in the apprehension of eight individuals posing as DBM officials.

These individuals were apprehended in the act of deceiving victims with fake promises of securing funds or projects from the DBM in exchange for large sums of money.

“These impostors shamelessly exploit public trust, falsely representing themselves as DBM officials,” Pangandaman said. “Their actions not only tarnish our institution’s integrity but also harm unsuspecting individuals.”

The budget chief urged citizens to exercise utmost caution and diligence when approached by individuals claiming DBM affiliation.

She emphasized the vital importance of reporting any suspicious activities promptly to the authorities.

“We will not tolerate such egregious deception,” Pangandaman said.

“I urge the public to remain vigilant and report any encounters with these impostors immediately,” she added.

The NBI agents apprehended the fraudulent individuals on March 26, 2024, during an entrapment operation in Mandaluyong City.

Prior to their arrest, it was discovered that one of the suspects had posed as a DBM Undersecretary, claiming authority over special projects within the agency.

In their deceitful scheme, the suspects lured the complainant by promising them P1.3 billion worth of projects. However, upon conducting an initial verification at the DBM, the vigilant complainant found no record of the alleged officer or project in the agency’s official records.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the DBM swiftly collaborated with the NBI to organize the entrapment operation.

The suspects were apprehended at a restaurant after accepting marked money totaling P500,000 from the NBI.

During a recent interview on the Usapang Budget Natin program, Atty. Jerome Bomediano, Chief of the NBI Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division, revealed that the apprehended individuals will be charged with estafa under Revised Penal Code 135 and Usurpation of Authority under Revised Penal Code 177.

Bomediano urged the public to promptly report any encounters with individuals or groups falsely claiming high positions within the government.

Reports or complaints can be lodged via the DBM public assistance office email address: [email protected], the hotline 8657-3300 local 2521, or through the Usapang Budget Natin’s Facebook page.

Similar concerns can also be directly reported to the NBI via their trunkline at (02) 8523-8231 to 38.