Fake 'Silvestre Bello' account seeks community pantry donations from victims, claims senatorial bid

Published May 23, 2021, 2:11 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III has sought the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) help in tracing the individuals behind a fake Facebook account bearing his name.

(Photo from DOLE)

Information provided by DOLE on Sunday, May 23, showed that the unscrupulous persons had been using the account to solicit donations for Bello’s supposed community pantries.

They have even gone as far to tell their victims that Bello was going to run for senator in the 2022 national polls.

“It is lamentable that some people would resort to this despicable scheme to besmirch my name for their advantage. And it is doubly deplorable that they would use falsehood and deception to victimize others in this time of crisis,” Bello said.

The spurious Facebook account carries the name “Silvestre H. Bello III” along with a photo and some official and personal details of the Cabinet member.

The account also included as background photo the tarpaulin of DOLE’s flagship program, the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD). It was taken during the agency’s assistance payout in Tarlac with Governor Susan Yap.

The fraudulent account, which also uses the official logo of the labor department, has drawn unsuspecting officials and friends of Bello. It already lists 1,211 friends as of this posting.

(Photo from DOLE)

The nefarious activity of the bogus account was brought to the labor secretary’s attention over the weekend when “Silvestre” publicly posted “Pwede ba kayo mag donate sa community pantry ko (Can you donate to my community pantry?)” To facilitate cash transfers, Silvestre posted bank account details of another person, along with a mobile number not that of the real labor chief’s.

In a succeeding post, Silvestre said: “Tatakbo kasi ako senador (It’s because I’ll be running for senator).”