DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan – An engineer and his fellow contractor were nabbed in an entrapment operation by the National Bureau of Investigation-Dagupan District Office (NBI-DADO) on Monday, October 4 in Bani town.
The arrested suspects were identified as Engineer Vicente Gonzales Jr, of legal age, a resident of Marikina City, and Jerome Mabinay, a resident of Batasan Hills in Quezon City, while the other two suspects, namely Wenefreda Galupe, of Quezon City, and Jasmine Navalta of Marikina City are currently at large.
Investigation reveals the victim, Angelita Medrano, a retired post office employee in Switzerland, was befriended by Navalta and Galupa online.
In Medrano’s affidavit, she met the female suspects when she flew to the Philippines some time in 2019. Their friendship blossomed, and so did Medrano’s trust.
On April 2021, Medrano and her Swiss husband, Edgar Fedier, decided to build a house here and settle for good. Galupe endorsed her to contractors Gonzales and Mabinay. The couple agreed.
The couple gave an initial cash fund of P2 million to Galupe, who acted as middleman, to begin the construction of their dream house.
They gave another P2 million in cold cash to Galupe as payment for the construction for the following month.
However, on June 2021, the couple have not seen any progress in the construction, save for an unfinished fence in their lot at Barangay Banog Sur in Bani town.
Suspecting something is wrong, Medrano demanded her money be returned, but to no avail.
The suspects are even asking the couple an additional P150,000 to cover construction labor costs. This was the final straw.
Medrano approached the NBI-DADO on September 27, and filed her complaint against the four suspects.
On October 4, the NBI arranged an entrapment operation in a restaurant in Bani. Only Gonzales and Mabinay appeared.
Using a combination of three genuine bills and boodle money, the operation commenced. The duo were immediately arrested after consummating the transaction.
The suspects, who are now under NBI custody, have been filed violation of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (Estafa and Swindling).
The NBI is calling out for other possible victims to surface and file charges against the suspects.