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Parañaque mayor denies link to P500-M investment scam

Aug 5, 2015 @ 0:33

Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez has denied any involvement in a P500-million scam that was allegedly used to bankroll the projects of the city government.

In a statement released by the Office of the Mayor, Olivarez said he did not know the arrested suspect who name-dropped him and his brother, Parañaque 1st District Rep. Eric Olivarez.

“In this regard, the general public is hereby warned that the undersigned does not have any connection nor (is) connected whatsoever to the person of MARY ANGELAINE LIBANAN MARTIREZ in respect to her alleged business and investment solicitations,” the city mayor said.

“As a matter of fact, immediately upon notice of this alleged scam, I wrote the NBI Director, Atty. Virgilio Mendez, dated July 27, 2015, urging them to conduct an investigation and to give justice to the victims of this scam,” he added.

Olivarez insisted the city government did not award any project to Mary Angelaine Libanan, 25, of 121 Citadela Drive, Citadela Executive Village, Las Piñas City, who was arrested based on large-scale estafa complaints on Monday, August 3.

The mayor, who said he learned of Libanan’s transactions more than a week ago and had her investigated, said the modus operandi of the suspect is to introduce herself as an agent of the city government and name-drop local officials in order to solicit cash to bankroll “proposed government projects” with a 30-percent return on their investments.

The business ventures usually involve ongoing city government projects that are less than a million pesos, the details of which are easily downloadable from the city government website or fromphilgeps.gov.ph.

After downloading the prospective project, Libanan would pump up the amount that was listed in the original project, for instance, from original P8 million to P80 million in order to pull in millions from would-be investors.

The mayor said that it was on July 27, when his attention was called on the scam being perpetrated by Libanan and her partner Mark Anthony Martirez, 24, that immediately wrote a letter to Mendez urging NBI to conduct an investigation and for the arrest of the two suspects.

Senior Supt. Ariel Andrade, the city’s chief of police, said the monthly payment to each investor was supposed to amount to 20 percent of his or her principal investment.

“So if you invested P1 million with (Martirez), you were supposed to get P200,000 monthly. At first they were being paid (from the investments of other investors) but after some time, the payments stopped,” he explained.

Andrade said initial investments of individuals from “rich families” ranged from P5 million to P70 million.

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