By: Jennifer P. Rendon
LESS than a week into office, someone is already making a killing using the name of the new Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) director.
On Tuesday, Police Colonel Roland Vilela revealed the existence of an impostor pretending to be him.
Vilela only learned about it after he paid a courtesy visit to Mayor Luigi Gorriceta of Pavia town.
Gorriceta informed the IPPO chief that someone who claimed to be Vilela called and asked for the contact information of a contractor whom he will hire to build a house in Iloilo.
Apparently, the Vilela poser then called the contractor and asked for P6,000 worth of mobile phone load cards.
The unnamed contractor gave in.
Vilela said he already ordered Police Major Niño Leonard Amar, Pavia police chief, to investigate the incident.
But aside from Pavia, Vilela said he has received reports of another poser in Oton town.
In the meantime, Vilela warned the public against any person who would solicit money using his name.
“I’m not that cheap,” he said. “But kidding aside, the people who know me could attest that I won’t do that.”
Vilela also condemned the use of his name for illegal activities.
While investigators try to trace the scammer, “I suggest that he surrenders before we get him,” Vilela said.
He also enjoined the public not to give in to solicitations and other extortion activities using his name.
“Should Iloilo police need support, I meet you up and discuss a proposal. Rest assured that we will not do it underground,” he said.
Vilela believes that the incident is an attempt to destroy his integrity as the Iloilo top cop.
He noted that during his first few days, he pushed his field commanders to intensify law enforcement operations, especially against illegal drugs, illegal gambling, and wanted persons.
His 24-hour challenge netted 41 wanted persons and arrest of several other violators.
“This is a show of desperation of these criminals. They want to destroy me so that they can freely operate in Iloilo,” he said.
Vilela committed to break records in law enforcement and other anti-criminality campaigns because “this is what the people of Iloilo deserve.”
Before Vilela’s case, the latest scam using the same modus operandi victimized Governor Samuel Gumarin of Guimaras.
It happened in April 2018 after five establishments in the province claimed they got a call from someone who identified himself as the governor.
The scammer has targeted several resorts and restaurants in Guimaras.
Magic Island Resort in Nueva Valencia town has confirmed the food reservation with his office.
Aside from Magic Island Resort, other establishments were Andana Resort in Nueva Valencia; Nature’s Eye Resort in Nueva Valencia; Raymen Beach Resort in Nueva Valencia; Guisi Clearwater Resort in Nueva Valencia; La Puerta El Paraiso in Nueva Valencia; and Guimaras Mountain Resort in Buenavista.
A pharmacy in Jordan town was also duped into sending mobile phone load worth P12,000.
Last November 2018, the same modus operandi also happened in Iloilo City.
The scammer used the name of former Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.
The caller placed an order and later asked for a P9,000 load from Salt Gastro Pub located at Gen. Luna St., City Proper.
But it turned there are other restaurants, which also got scammed.
Ocean City restaurant also located at Gen. Luna St. and Spring Palace Seafood Restaurant at Smallville Complex, Mandurriao, Iloilo City, said they also prepared food good for ten persons upon the request of the same caller.
7 Fishes Restaurant at Diversion Road, Mandurriao, Iloilo City also received the call and even prepared food.
Tatoy’s Manokan and Seafood Restaurant said they received a call asking for the list of menu.
In January 2018, three establishments in Tapaz, Capiz were also duped into sending phone loads that totaled to P41,000 to a caller who identified himself as Mayor Roberto Palomar.