CIDG nabs 'fake Usec' tagged in P1B appointment, gov't project scam

Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested a 42-year old man tagged in a P1 billion worth of scam which allegedly offers government positions and projects in exchange for a huge sum of money, some of the victims are models and showbiz personalities that include Rosanna Roces and Gwen Garci.

Suspect Edward Diokno Eje, who uses the alias Vaughn Vincent, was collared when police responded on the complaints that a driver of a Sports Utility Vehicle poked a gun at a motorcycle rider following a heated argument on 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City at around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13.

photo: CIDG

CIDG director Police Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat, Jr. said Eje introduced himself as connected to the Office of the President and even presented an identification card purportedly issued by Malacañan.

While conducting verification, operatives saw in plain view one undetermined caliber of firearm from the compartment of the passenger’s seat without pertinent documents. This resulted in his arrest," said Caramat.

Appointment Scam

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Feb. 14, Caramat said Eje was confirmed to be the subject of a complaint on the alleged "appointment scam" wherein several personalities were offered juicy government posts in exchange for huge sums of money.

Based on the background check, he said eight people were among the complainants who said that they were instructed to go to the Malacañan Palace in Manila on Jan. 27 to take an oath of office that will be administered by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Macos, Jr. himself.

The supposed positions were an ambassadorial post to the Netherlands; Transportation Assistant Secretary, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority board member, Clark International Airport Corporation president and chief executive officer, Early Childhood Care and Development Council executive director and vice chairperson, Clark Development Corp. director and Port of Batangas manager.

"According to the victims, a certain Undersecretary Eduardo Diokno (Eje) and Assistant Secretary Johnson See, both from the Office of the Executive Secretary, instructed them to proceed to the Palace for their supposed swearing-in rites," said Caramat.

The oath-taking turned out to be bogus.

"It turned out that no oathtaking was scheduled on that date and the letter was a sham," said Caramat.


Retired police general Gilbert Cruz, currently head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, said Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin then ordered the PNP to conduct an investigation to determine the people behind the incident and was persistent to identify them.

He said this came after persistent reports about the appointment scam and other modus involving government contracts.

The palace's instruction led to the thorough investigation into the incident, Caramat said for his part.

"It was found that a certain Edward Diokno Eje was primarily responsible behind the January 27 incident together with his co-conspirator Johnson Borja See after several of the supposed 'appointees' gave their statements to investigators of PNP (Philippine National Police) and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation)," Caramat said.

Caramat said Johnson Borja See surrendered to Cruz on Tuesday morning, Feb, 14, and claimed that he was also a victim of Eje.

P1 billion

Eje would reportedly ask a minimum of P1 million for business ventures that supposedly guarantee high return of investments and up to P300 million for a position of undersecretary.

"The maximum amount he was able to ask from one victim was P300 million. He promised an undersecretary position," said Caramat.

"This scheme led to dozens of people being victimized who lost nearly P 1 billion," he added.

Osang and Gwen

In a press briefing, actress Rosanna Roces said she and her business partner, an engineer from Cebu, shelled out a total of P18.5 million for a supposed government project in Parañaque City.

"We gave P15 million worth money through a check and we also gave P3.5 million as grease money for the local officials. I thought that my business partner was also involved in the scam but I later found that he was also a victim," said Roces.

Supposedly, Roces said they were already earning P5 million a month since September.

For her part, actress Gwen Garci said she and two other friends paid P1 million each as investment to a business involving horse racing.

She said she was convinced that the investment was legitimate since Eje was claiming that he is a close friend of the Vice President and her brother Cong. Paolo Duterte.

Another victim, Geneva Silva, said she invested P3.1 million for a bridge project and procurement of alcohol for the Department of Health.


Cruz said Eje was able to convince his victims by claiming that he is close to the President, Vice President Sara Duterte and the Executive Secretary.

"People whom he talked with found him credible because whenever he would show up in a meeting, he would set it up in a five-star hotel and he also had what appears to be members of the Presidential Security Group with Malacañan logo," said Cruz.

He added that Eje would also show photos of him with ranking government officials.

"So the impression is that he is big-time but everything that they saw were all fake and were all just for a show," he added.

Cruz said Eje even went to the point of issuing identification cards with assistant secretary appointments.

Caramat, for his part, said the CIDG is now conducting a deeper investigation to identify Eje's cohorts and establish their scheme," said Caramat.