Bogus VECO workers arrested in Cebu

CEBU CITY – Three men who allegedly posed as workers of Visayan Electric Company (Veco) and offered to reconnect power supply in exchange for cash were arrested by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation-Central Visayas (NBI-7).

Maximo Mariot Jr., Bryan Sacman and Doroteo Auxterio Jr. were arrested in an entrapment operation in Sitio Nangka, Barangay Mohon, Talisay City, southern Cebu on Tuesday, Jan. 25.

Wenceslao Galendez, investigation officer of NBI-7, said the operation was conducted against the three after some customers of Veco complained against them.

Mariot was previously connected with Veco as an electrician but his accreditation has already expired.

Galendez said through their monitoring, they discovered that Mariot has offered to prioritize some households which lost their power supply due to the devastation of last month's typhoon in exchange for cash.

Aside from Talisay, Mariot also had transactions in Consolacion town and other areas in Metro Cebu.

Pretending as a homeowner, Galendez met Mariot in a mall to negotiate wherein the suspect allegedly demanded P10,000 for the restoration of power in Galendez's house and his neighbors.

Last Monday, Galendez met with Mariot again in Barangay Guadalupe and handed P10,000 in marked money to the suspect.

The NBI-7 said Mariot asked for an additional P1,400 supposedly intended for a worker in Veco, who was in-charge to facilitate the job order request.

Mariot allegedly demanded an additional P5,000 when he saw the extent of the damage of the house in Talisay where electric supply was supposed to be reconnected.

An NBI-7 agent, who posed as a houseowner gave Mariot P5,000.

The NBI-7 said Mariot called someone over the phone. Sacman and Auxterio arrived later on a vehicle with markings of Visayan Electric.

While in the area, the NBI-7 said the three men transacted with other homeowners and offered to reconnect their power supply for a fee of P4,500.

While the three were working on the wirings, the NBI-7 was advised by Veco that the restoration was not authorized by the company's Emergency Dispatch Supervisor.

Shorlty after the wirings were fixed, NBI-7 agents handed P15,000 in marked money to the suspects.

The three were then arrested after the money changed hands.

Complaints for violation of the Republic Act 7832 or the Anti-Electricity and Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Pilferage Act ug Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code were filed against the suspects before the Talisay City Prosecutor's Office.

Raul Lucero, president and chief operating officer of Veco, confirmed that Mariot's accreditation was terminated in 2015.

Investigation will be conducted to determine if Sacman and Auxtero were workers of a Veco contractor, Lucero said.