DSWD catches alleged fraudster in entrapment operation

Published September 19, 2022, 3:47 PM

by Luisa K. Cabato

An individual, who used fake identification cards and falsified documents to avail of medical assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), was caught in an entrapment operation on Sept. 16 at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City.

Manila Bulletin (File Photo)

The operation conducted together with the Philippine National Police (PNP) was done right after the suspect, identified as Alexander Diaz E. Bartolo, availed of medical assistance worth P3,500 using fake IDs and documents.

“Hindi po alam ng ating suspect na si Alexander Diaz ay namamanmanan na s’ya ng Research and Investigative Team at Crisis Intervention Unit ng DSWD po sapagkat ilang beses na nakita ang kanyang larawan, ‘yung kanyang mukha, ‘dun sa ating mga datos (Our suspect, Alexander Diaz, had no idea that the DSWD Research and Investigative Team and Crisis Intervention Unit were already all eyes on him after seeing his photo several times in our data records),” said DSWD spokesperson Assistant Secretary Romel Lopez in a briefing on Monday, Sept. 19.

Lopez said that Bartolo was able to avail himself of medical assistance 10 times, including the most recent one, amounting to a total of P35,000 from the agency’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation program on different occasions.

He has been charged with estafa and falsification of public documents.

The suspect said that he only did the illegal act due to financial needs, said Lopez.

“Noong una binigyan naman s’ya ng pagkakataon sa ating piskalya na ipagtanggol ‘yung kanyang sarili pero hindi naman s’ya tumanggi, ang hinihingi nga po n’ya eh kung sino daw ang pwedeng kausapin nalang sa DSWD at s’ya daw ay mangmamaka-awa nalang at hihingi ng kapatawaran (He was given the chance to defend himself at the fiscal and he did not refuse to do so, he was even asking for someone to talk to from DSWD and said that he will just beg and ask for forgiveness),” Lopez said.

“Pero hindi naman po ganun ‘yun dahil ito nga pong mga perang pinamamahagi natin eh hard earned money ninyo po ng atin pong mga manggagawa, ng atin pong mga negosyate ano kaya ito po’y aming pinag-iingatan (But it does not work that way because the money we are disseminating is hard-earned money of workers and businessmen that is why we are taking good care of it),” he continued.

Lopez said that the suspect disclosed five more people involved with the illegal activity during an initial investigation with the PNP.

The agency is already conducting an internal investigation regarding the matter and there is no information yet on whether a large group is behind this, Lopez added.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson said that the operation serves as a warning to those who are planning to conduct such illegalities to avail of DSWD assistance.

The DSWD has already lessened the number of required documents for its assistance but is now implementing stricter authentication measures to make sure that the agency’s fund will only go to legitimate and deserving beneficiaries, he said.