By Mar Supnad and Freddie Lazaro
VIGAN, Ilocos Sur – A suspected swindler chose the wrong victim when he posed as a pastor in deceiving former Ilocos Sur governor Luis “Chavit” Singson into giving numerous contributions amounting to almost P350,000.
Ilocos Sur Police Director Sr. Supt. Clint Bayacsan identified the suspect as Franklin Lopez Valencia, 42, and a native of Laoag City.
Valencia misrepresented himself as a certain Pastor Rey Cabrera of the Pentecostal Church in Barangay Orense, Narvacan town when he approached Singson, soliciting donation for the construction of a church.
According to Singson, he doled out donations to Cabrera not only once, but several times, until he got suspicious about the frequency by which the pastor had been asking for help.
This prompted Singson to ask Cabrera for proper identification in connection with his job with the Pentecost Fourth Watch in Orense, Narvacan town.
But instead of proof of his affiliation with the church, Cabrera, instead, bragged to Singson that he knew a lot of prominent figures in the province.
The political kingpin wasted no time in verifying Cabrera’s claims with the prominent figures that the latter claimed knowing, denying to even knowing the suspect.
This prompted Singson to report the matter to the police.
The former governor’s security officers also checked the suspect’s rented car, and found an extra pair of car plates in it.
Singson filed cases of stafa and use of fictitious name against the suspect with the prosecutor’s office in Ilocos Sur on Monday.