Cops arrest swindler-client at DSWD office in Region 1

VIGAN CITY, May 16 (PIA) — Lawmen arrested a male swindler-client in an entrapment operation held at the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in San Fernando City, La Union recently.

According to DSWD Region 1 Director Marcelo Nicomedes J. Castillo, the modus operandi of the suspect is to go around several DSWD regional offices asking financial assistance.

Two days before the entrapment operation, Castillo narrated that he received a call from a client who identified himself as Congressman Vicente Emano. The congressman referred the suspect (Mert John Lumahang) as his constituent asking for transportation assistance in the amount of P8,500 to attend his father’s wake in Tawi Tawi.

To request an augmentation from DSWD-NCR, Castillo coordinated with Dir. Alicia Bonoan since DSWD FO1 can only provide the maximum amount of P5,000. The latter informed that same client of the same need asked assistance with DSWD-NCR recently, whereby a ticket will be purchased for the client’s visit to Tawi-Tawi.

Castillo checked with fellow DSWD regional director at Regions V, VI, VII, CARAGA, and NCR on the veracity of client’s identity. DSWD regional directors of said regions confirmed that same client and problem have accessed financial assistance through their Crisis Intervention Unit.

It was reported that the swindler-client seem to be very knowledgeable on the programs and services of DSWD. When the suspect was informed that the DSWD Region 1 office can only extend some Php 2,000. The Congressman allegedly requested Director Castillo to extend the maximum amount of P5,000 under the Balik Probinsiya Program.

During the entrapment operation, the marked money was received by the client where he was apprehended by police elements. The client is now under the custody of the San Fernando City Police Station and legal processes are being undertaken.

Meanwhile, DSWD Asst. Regional Director Marlene Febes D. Peralta advised the fellow officials in the government offices and local government units to be extra careful in assisting clients, and to coordinate properly with various partners in the provision of financial assistance or help to needy clients.

“DSWD is not an independent office; it has a wide networking and partnership with institutions at the local and national level in carrying out its mission to help the needy and vulnerable individuals and families,” Febes said. (ANL/FGL-PIA 1 Ilocos Sur with reports from DSWD Region 1)

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