By: Felipe V. Celino
ROXAS CITY, Capiz – A court here dismissed the syndicated estafa charges filed against the alleged brain and agents of the controversial Forex Investment Scheme (FIS) after an amicable settlement.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 19 Judge Esperanza Isabel Poco-Deslate ordered the dismissal of Criminal Case No. C-185-19 for estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code, as amended in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689 (syndicated estafa) against Lourdes Baarde, Rachel Chavez, Joel Domayan, Gerlinski Bravo, and Rebecca Venturado.
The order was based on the “ex-parte motion to dismiss” filed by the prosecution after the complainants filed affidavits of desistance for lack of interest to prosecute.
The court, in the same order, took into consideration the prosecution’s allegation that it cannot prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.
The case stemmed from the verified complaint filed jointly by Christine Falcis, John Kim Lata, Reymus Briones, Elsa Orola, Michelle Alianza, Rio Briones, Arjun Ocampo, Kathlyn Mae Fuentes, Karen Therese Sumcad, Lucita Chu, and Eugenio Chu lll.
The complainants alleged that sometime in April of 2018, Baarde and her co-accused allegedly introduced themselves as officers of FIS Corp, which invested funds solicited from the general public with the promise of high monthly interest rates.
The complainants claimed that the respondents invited them to a business symposium and encouraged them to invest in FIS.
Baarde and company allegedly assured the private complainants that their investments (including interests) are safe.
The accused even issued post-dated checks covering the projected interests that totalled to several millions of pesos.
Lawyer Ferdinand Elbert Jomilla, one of the defense counsels in the case, said he hopes that they other cases against his clients that are still pending in courts will also be dismissed if the contending parties agree to amicably settle their differences.