A SUSPECTED online scammer posing as Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo was arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in an entrapment operation in Cebu City.
NBI Director Dante Gierran identified the suspect as Jose Villafuerte.
A record check showed Villafuerte was facing qualified theft and estafa charges in various regional trial courts.
The entrapment stemmed from a letter from the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel (OCPLC) asking for an investigation about the suspect’s illegal online activities.
Villafuerte created a Facebook account and made it appear that the account was maintained by the OCPLC as photos of Panelo were posted on its wall.
Several people interacted with the fake account by asking for favors and making inquiries.
An NBI operative was able to chat with Villafuerte on the fake account.
Villafuerte, posing as Panelo, allegedly demanded money which would be used for a rehabilitation project for typhoon victims in Naga City.
The suspect allegedly promised lucrative contracts with the Department of Health in exchange for the money.
A sting was hatched with an NBI agent agreeding to meet Villafuerte in Cebu City last February 21 to hand over P500,000.