BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
A man claiming to be a Philippine military general and a Malacaňang “special envoy”, and eight others were arrested yesterday by the police at Andrea Village in Brgy. Zone 2, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, allegedly for syndicated estafa.
Nabbed by virtue of arrest warrants for usurpation of authority and two counts of estafa, issued by judges Nectar Precious Hope Gumana-Mamon, Delila Gonzales-Munoz and Jennifer Huminding, was Joel Pereyra Famoso, who claimed to be Maj. Gen. Joel Famoso, Cadiz City police chief Lt. Col. Robert Mansueto, said.
Mansueto said that the arrest of Famoso, 52, who claimed to be an army major general, a special envoy of Malacaňang, Chief Communication Operation for the President Project and Chief Presidential Investigator, an ordained minister of the Jesus Praise Family Ministry, and a lawyer, along with eight other suspects yielded a fragmentation grenade and two .38 caliber revolvers.
Cadiz City police investigation showed that the group of Famoso allegedly engaged in investment fraud, where investors are being promised interest capital shares for lots or real property investments under the Jesus Praise Family Ministry.
Tacurong Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Nectar Precious Hope Gumana-Mamon set bail at P30,000l for charges of usurpation of authority, Benguet Regional Trial Court Judge Jennifer Huminding set bail at P40,000 for estafa charges, and La Trinidad MTCC Judge Delila Gonzales-Munoz set bail at P6,000 for another estafa charge, all for Famoso.
Mansueto said that a fragmentation grenade and several identification cards, including that of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, were also recovered from Famoso, while the two .38 caliber revolvers were taken from his bodyguard and driver identified as Ruel Telebrinco and Arman Casuyon, with nine live ammunition.
The simultaneous conduct of an entrapment operation and serving of the arrest warrants against Famoso, which was a joint operation of the Cadiz City Police Station, Provincial Intelligence Unit of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office and Tacurong City Police Station, also led to the arrest of Juanito Gardoce Jr., Ivy Binas, Hazel Sharon Duclayan, Harriet Piamonte, Heide Visitacion and Danellen Iligan, and the recovery of P3,000 in marked money and P117,000 boodle money.
Mansueto said they are following up other reported pending cases issued against Famoso, who is from Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, and temporarily residing at Buri Road in Brgy. Mandalagan, Bacolod City.*