Police arrested on Saturday a man who allegedly organized an illegal assembly to recruit “appointees” to President Rodrigo Duterte’s revolutionary government and offered his group’s members a share of the ill-gotten wealth of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
According to Ubay police chief Sr. Insp. Desiree Lavisto, the gathering was held at past 12 p.m. at a gym in Brgy. San Pascual of said town and was attended by over 3,000 people from various municipalities.
The group calls itself “People’s Congress” while its organizer was identified as one Celestino Java, 56, of Barangay Pag-asa in Ubay.
He was taken into police custody after he was unable to present a mayor’s permit for the assembly.
The organization which also did not possess documents to prove its legality was collecting various membership fees from its members.
According to Lavisto, the group claimed that membership entails positions in government if the planned shift to a federal form of government succeeds or a revolutionary government is established.
“Kung gusto kono nga mahimong barangay official mobayad ug membership nga 180, pero kung higher position ang gusto pareha sa mayor mobayad kono ug 600 pesos,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the group were also promised P5 million as their share of the Marcos wealth.
The shares of the wealth were to be distributed by a certain Tiborsio Villamor Marcos Taliano Tagui-An IV who Java claimed be a son of the strongman.
Lavisto said that Java’s operation was a large scam and authorities are now looking into the filing of additional charges against the suspect.
Based on gathered documents, 374 people have already signed an “oath of allegiance” to the group.
Most of those who attended the assembly were losing candidates during the previous elections while several rebel returnees were also spotted during the event, Lavisto said.
Earlier this month, Department of Interior and Local Government Sec. Edgardo Ano warned against the People’s Congress.
“This could well be the same group of scammers who had been identified earlier as they prey on unsuspecting public officials who have political ambitions,” said Ano.
According to Ano, the group operates in various towns and provinces across the country claiming to be representatives from the Palace who are tasked to appoint local executives who will take over the posts of the current elected officials once the supposed revolutionary government is set up.
One of the purported leaders of the group identified himself as “Jose Roa Matias II.”
Matias claimed to be a lawyer and to be a relative of Duterte.
However, Matias’ name is not listed in the roster of lawyers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
“The Philippine National Police had been alerted and they are tasked to investigate and look into the activities of these people. Our people should all be aware by now about the scams and that they should avoid these conmen at all cost,” Ano said. (A. Doyodra)