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NBI nabs scammer posing as Sal Panelo on FB

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MANILA – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday announced the arrest of a man in Mandaue City, Cebu who duped victims by pretending to be Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel (CPLC) Salvador Panelo on social media.

Jose A. Villafuerte, a native of Bulacan, solicited “donations” from his victims by pretending to be Panelo on Facebook.

The social media account bore Panelo’s name and copied and reported posts from the legitimate Facebook account of the CPLC. He was arrested in an operation conducted by the NBI Special Task Force on February 21, the NBI said.

“All the legitimate activities and photos exclusively done by the Secretary and the OCPLC are posted as well,” the NBI said.

There were instances where victims who wanted to converse with Panelo and duped into thinking it was the real account would be asked to send money which will be used allegedly as donations to bogus projects being claimed by Villafuerte as his.

In the entrapment operation, the respondent demanded from NBI agents money which he claimed will be used in a rehabilitation project for typhoon victims in Naga City.

In exchange, Villafuerte said NBI agents who pretended to be a businessman named Henry Tan will receive contracts from the Department of Health.

Charges of computer-related identity theft, obstruction of justice, unlawful use of alias, use of falsified documents, falsification of public documents, usurpation of authority and use of fictitious names were filed against Villafuerte. (PNA / Benjamin Pulta)

Photo from Philippine News Agency

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