The strong public trust on President Rodrigo Duterteâ€™s administration had swindlers recycling their usual modus of preying on the vulnerability of the people assuming Utopia.
As Duterteâ€™s iron hand against corruption and vow to cleanse society of scalawags earned high expectation, people, in haste, assumed outright total eradication of â€œthe evilsâ€â€”including the usual swindlers.
Department of Agriculture (DA)-7 Regional Director Angel Enriquez shared the insight as she herself fell victim of cellphone load scammer at the fresh start of the Duterte administration.
As the Duterte administration intends to pour multi-million-peso support to agriculture projects in Bohol, Enriquez warned town and barangay officials from swindlers soliciting cash to facilitate the processing of their respective project proposals.
Such procedure has no place in the Duterte administration, Enriquez clarified.
She advised warned mayors against unscrupulous individuals asking advance payment for farm-to-market road projects, and to immediately call the DA-7 regional field office on such incidents.
Enriquez pointed out that the DA never asks any cash advance for projects from any recipient local government unit.
She also warned that these unscrupulous individuals are professional swindlers and sound authoritative that could effectively convince.
Enriquez shared an experience where she was victimized by a scammer who introduced himself as the assistant secretary of agriculture.
It was yet at the transition period and she had not met the assistant secretary in person and only knew him by name at that time and they really had confirmed such as the name of their assistant secretary.
The man on the phone asked for her, so the office staff gave the phone to her and the man told her that they were in Cebu at that time for a meeting and needed a caterer.
So, she told the man posing as the assistant secretary to talk with their cooperative manager who could assist him.
The coop manager later consulted her as the man asked for P5,000 cellphone load.
Without suspicion in her mind, considering that it was the assistant secretary asking for it, she then sent a staff to buy P5,000 worth of cellphone load.
After they had already sent P3,000 cellphone load to the number given by the man, another person called up, introducing as the assistant secretaryâ€™s secretary, asking for P15,000 more cellphone load.
Just then, she realized it must be a scam. So they decided not send the P2,000 load they had earlier bought.
Enriquez said she tried to trace the man by calling him up and asking things, but the man responded in angry voice,Â â€œO, bakit director, anong akala mo sa akin?â€
She described the voice as â€œvery authoritativeâ€ and â€œdemandingâ€ that one could really think of him as a person of authority with confidence.
Enriquez said she could hardly believe that these people continue with such modus up to the present.
Up to now, she is still paying for the cellphone load, on installment through salary deduction.
With this, Enriquez emphasized that the DA never practices solicitation of any load or cash.
Now, that DA had a bit redeemed its reputation from the fertilizer scam, Enriquez emphasized the need for mayors to be vigilant.
She advised any local official to call her up immediately if anyone calls, introducing as the DA-7 regional director or as an official they trust like Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center Manager Eugene Cahiles, to ask for advance payment on any project.
Just recently, unscrupulous individuals went around barangays in Bohol, soliciting aspirants for appointment as OIC barangay captains to replace the incumbent ones in the light of the postponement of the barangay election in exchange for cash.
Upon learning of the scam, the DILG immediately issued an advisory not to fall prey to these swindlers.
In fact, the unscrupulous individuals used the name of Vice-Governor Dionisio Balite, taking advantage of the vice governorâ€™s political affiliation with Duterte.