Fake US dollar bills seized in Davao

Lawyer Reynaldo Esmeralda, NBI deputy director said they are evaluating and validating if the 6,500 pieces of uncut $100 bills were printed by a nationwide ring of fake money manufacturers operating mainly in Metro Manila.

Wilfredo Villaluz, BSP bank officer, said the counterfeit bills could be part of those sold to a foreign conduit. "There's a market for this outside," he said, adding, they will conduct further investigation.

Lawyer Romulo G. Manapsal, NBI regional director for Southeastern Mindanao, said the raid came after three months of surveillance initiated by Manila-based NBI operatives.

NBI officials arrested printing shop employee Pedro Lacang and owner Pricillo Posadas.

Both were accused of allegedly forging treasury or bank notes and for alleged illegal possession and use of false treasury or bank notes. Both denied the charges.

They were presented to reporters only on Monday, three days after the raid.

The NBI has filed inquest proceedings against the suspects at the City Prosecutors' Office.

Manapsal narrated that Lacang had already been charged for the same violation in General Santos in June but was bailed in August by persons he declined to identify.
Lacang said he was forced to keep the bills and the printing machines for the persons he identified only by their nicknames. He said they forced him to receive the materials in exchange for the bail bond.

Posadas said he did not know of the whereabouts of Lacang whom he hired only two weeks ago. He said his small printing shop only makes sales invoices.

NBI officials said they have a strong case against the suspects.

According to the inquest proceedings received by the CPO on Oct. 28, the raiding team seized from Lacang 53 pieces of cut US$100 bills, negative films of the bills, and bundles of uncut bills with and without serial numbers printed on short size special paper.

Also seized from him were a hand press machine believed to be used in printing the bills and an embossing machine used to facelift the fake bills.

From Posadas, the NBI confiscated eight negatives of US$ 100 bills, four negatives of the US Treasury seal and nine pieces of US$ 100 bills.

NBI investigator Jonathan Balite told MindaNews they believe the two had just started just started operations in Davao but that they were working for a national syndicate.

Villaluz warned the public against the fake money.

He said they are still confirming if the bills had been circulated locally.

If mixed with genuine dollars, it would be hard to distinguish the fake. "But if you look closer, you'll see the fake bill has smoother texture, with a blurred image," he said.

According to wikipedia.org, the United States one hundred-dollar bill ($100) is the highest denomination of United States currency. It features the image of U.S. statesman, inventor, and diplomat Benjamin Franklin while the US Independence Hall is featured on the reverse. The bill is one of two current notes that does not feature a President of the United States. It is the largest denomination that has been in circulation since July 14, 1969, when the higher denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 and $100,000 were retired.