By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
SORSOGON CITY (BicolToday.com/14-Feb-2013) – Syndicated estafa was filed against Department of Education (DepEd) officials who were allegedly involved in an investment scam that has ripped off millions of pesos coming from savings of government retirees and investors.
“There are questions which only Bercasio and the other respondents can answer” was the comment of Prosecutor II Carlota Deniega on why the preliminary investigation is not yet conclusive.
The prosecutor was referring to the syndicated estafa case filed against Nydia Bercasio, officer in-charge of the cooperative, Francia Biolena, coop treasurer, Segundino Guab, Alfredo Camacho, Jorge Fuentes and Alex Rodriguez as respondents who are board of directors of the Sorsogon Public School Teachers and Employees Cooperative, Inc.
The complaint was filed by eight investors from Gubat town here.The respondent coop officials snubbed the preliminary investigation yesterday, though they were notified beforehand.
The complainants, all retired government employees, as investors filed a criminal case against Bercasio et al, individually, but the complaint was then consolidated, and now became a class suit originally assigned at the city prosecutors office, but with the motion of inhibition filed by the camp of Bercasio et. al., the complaint was transferred to the provincial prosecutors office.
Eliseo Fresnoza, who invested 800 thousand pesos (PhP 800,000.) out of his retirement money as public school teacher said, “the management of the cooperative did not issue a certificate of investment to me, instead it issued two checks that bounced upon maturity”, while the investment of Herminia Beltran of 100 thousand pesos (PhP100,000.) was issued a receipt by Francia Biolena, the coop treasurer, and a certificate of investment that was signed by Mauricio Gabani, the former manager of the cooperative who was sacked due to mismanagement as alleged by Bercasio and the other directors.
Both showed to Prosecutor Deniega the original checks issued by the cooperative and the receipt signed by Francia Biolena. One of the complainants, Violeta Guzman narrated that her 400 thousand (PhP 400,000.) investment was received by Francia Biolena, “I was not issued a check or a certificate of investments, instead I was issued a check for my four hundred thousand pesos”.
“Biolena took the check from me, she personally photocopied it, handed to me the photocopy of the check and came to know later that the check was encashed, by whom I do not know, I did not encashed it, it was with Francia Biolena, she took it from me”, Complainant Guzman alleged.
The investors said that Nydia Bercasio knew about their investments for some of their certificates of investment were signed by her and duly given receipts by Biolena. “By June, when we are withdrawing our investment, we were informed by management that the coop has insufficient money to pay us the matured obligations, . . . we demanded on several occasions to pay us our investments and the accruing interest, yet nothing”, they said. [BicolToday.com]
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