Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fraud complaint vs 72 Taiwanese junked

DAVAO CITY -- The City Prosecutor’s Office (CPO) has dismissed the international financial fraud complaint filed against 72 Taiwanese who were arrested in three separate raids here for lack of evidence. The complaint was filed by the Davao City Police Office and Taiwan police. But in a resolution penned by Prosecutor Marte Melchor Velasco and approved by City Prosecutor Raul Bendigo, the prosecution dropped the case “because the complainant failed to show that the properties seized by virtue of search warrants issued by the Regional Trial Court of Davao City have been actually used/resorted to by the respondent in order to commit the prohibited acts enumerated in Section 9 of Republic Act 8484." Velasco, in his ruling, said the alleged transaction made by respondents to Taiwanese retirees, their alleged victims, "was not shown and submitted as evidence" for the case. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) Davao said it is set to deport the 72 Taiwanese after the dismissal of the criminal complaint filed against them. A source from the BI who requested anonymity said they are just waiting for an order from BI Manila to deport the foreigners. He said the BI was already done with the summary deportation proceedings against the foreigners and was just waiting for the resolution of cases at the CPO. The 72 Taiwanese were arrested on April 18 after officials from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office sought the help of the Davao City Police Office in stopping the suspects' alleged fraudulent activities. The suspects allegedly posed as call center agents and blackmailed their victims in China and Taiwan into allegedly paying their outstanding water, electric and telephone bills. Reports said the victims were forced to pay for fear that they would be charged in court as claimed by the suspects who phoned them. The CPO also dismissed charges of violation of Republic Act 8792, or the Electronic Commerce Act, since it was not established in the complaint that the foreigners committed such violation "at the time of implementation of search warrants." The prosecutor also dismissed the illegal possession of firearms charges filed against 33 respondents since the complainant failed to state in his complaint "who in particular was the one possessing the said firearm." The resolution added that it was not also established in the complaint that the possession of .38 caliber revolver with six ammunitions was "illegal or not authorized by law." "There is no certification from the Firearm and Explosive Division of the Philippine National Police that one or all of the respondents are not authorized to possess the same," the ruling said. Seized during the raids were laptop computers, cellphones and other electronic devices allegedly used by the suspects who were later charged with violating the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998. "We expected this (the dismissal)," said Lawyer Israelito Torreon, counsel for the foreigners. He said he and other lawyers already knew that the case will be dismissed since there was no probable cause for the foreigners to be charged. He said they will now wait for the BI to formally deport his clients and let them face the cases filed against them in their country. Torreon added that he is hopeful the case filed in Taiwan will also be dismissed and that the prosecution will also find the same ground to dismiss the cases. He said there is indeed "no basis for the cases to be filed in court." "This ends the story." Torreon also said he is confident that the motion to quash the search warrants will be granted by the court. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)