Paid Lacson whistleblower nabbed for COVID-19 scam

ANGELO ‘Ador’ Mawanay, tagged as one of the country’s biggest lying paid ‘whistleblowers’ on Wednesday was arrested by agents of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for reportedly taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to steal millions of pesos from his unsuspecting victims.

PNP-CIDG deputy director, Brigadier General Rhoderick C. Armamento said the 47-year old Mawanay whose real name is Antonio Luis San Juan Marquez was arrested at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday inside Greenwood Subdivision in Pasig City by combined operatives of the CIDG Anti-Organized Crime Unit, the CIDG Regional Field Unit 10 and the Rizal Provincial Field Unit.

The arrest was made on the strength of a warrant for estafa issued against the suspect by Judge Ma. Consejo Gengos Ignalaga of the Antipolo City Regional Trial Court Branch 10, the official said.

The warrant of arrest was issued amid a complaint filed by a physician against the accused who gained notoriety for concocting a false testimony against former PNP chief-turned Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson in 2001.

“We are calling on other victims of the suspect to come to our office and file appropriate charges against him,” said the official as he added that as of press time, a complainant has surfaced at the CIDG headquarters to file charges against the accused.

According to Armamento, the doctor who was not identified ordered P12 million worth of medical supplies from Mawanay at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, due to staggered, long or delayed deliveries made by the suspect with about 200,000 pieces of facemasks still undelivered, the doctor began to worry and sensed that he is already a victim of estafa prompting him to seek the assistance of the CIDG.

The PNP-CIDG investigation revealed the suspect was monitored selling medical supplies particularly face masks online, promising fast or "ASAP" delivery to his clients.

Once payment is made, he will then block the numbers of his customers and fail to complete their transactions, hence, no deliveries were ever made or completed.

Armamento said they also monitored that Mawanay has standing warrants of arrest issued by different courts in Quezon City, San Juan, and Antipolo. “We coordinated with the courts from the three cities and initially, it was the Antipolo City court which provided us with a copy of the warrant of arrest issued against the suspect for estafa, thus his arrest,” the official said.

Armamento said they are still awaiting the result of their verification with the other courts regarding Mawanay’s cases.