The Bohol Provincial Police Office (BPPO) has strengthened its probe into the string of swindling cases allegedly perpetrated by a big-time Mindanao-based syndicate which has already amassed P2 million worth of various merchandise and vehicles through fraudulent transactions made in Tagbilaran City.
According to BPPO director Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad, they have started to coordinate with the Agusan Del Norte police in the Caraga Administrative Region, the 10-man crime group’s purported base of operations.
Intel gathered by the BPPO on the syndicate believed to be led by one Felisa Domingo Torralba have been relayed to high-ranking officials of the Police Regional Office 7 and the Police Regional Office 13 in Caraga, said Natividad on Thursday.
So far, 11 businessmen who have been swindled out of valuable items by the Torallba group in exchange for bouncing checks have reported their respective cases to the police while others have yet to file reports.
Analyn Antasuda, the owner of a furnished house at the posh Royal Palms subdivision in Dauis town where Torralba and her cohorts stayed, also reported to police that the suspects on Sunday carted away home appliances including a TV set and a gas stove with oven from the said residence.
The BPPO is now moving to hasten the arrest and filing of cases against the suspects particularly their leader. However, based on gathered information, there are several Torallba families in Agusan Del Norte and across the Caraga Region, said Natividad.
The police official also noted that they are looking into possible involvement of a Bohol-based associate of the group who may have helped Torralba’s group in easily moving into Bohol and fleeing the province when authorities were alerted.
Police are also considering the possibility of existing connections between the crime group and a person linked to the shipping company used by the suspects to enter Bohol and leave the province escaping back to Mindanao.
According to Natividad, they have also started to coordinate with Security Bank, the issuing bank used by the suspects in giving out post-dated checks to their victims.
Although Natividad admitted that there would be limitations to their probe due to the bank secrecy law, he noted that bank officials, so far, have been cooperating and helping authorities in their continued investigation.
For his part, Cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco Jr., in an interview with station dyRD’s Inyong Alagad program on Tuesday, said that he has relayed information on the series of swindling cases to Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
Evasco, a former mayor of Maribojoc town, also urged the public to avoid engaging in transactions with unknown and suspicious personalities to prevent swindling cases. (Allen Doydora)