Surigao Sur vice governor, wife nabbed for estafa

Photo courtesy of Bislig PNP

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 18 March) – Police operatives arrested Surigao del Sur Vice Gov. Librado Navarro and his wife Maylene in Bislig City on Thursday for estafa charges.

A joint police operation by the Bislig City Police Station and 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company apprehended Navarro, 64, and wife, 47, in their residence in Ericson Subdivision in Bislig City.

The arrest stemmed from a warrant of arrest for the crime of estafa with criminal case nos. 2523-M (2022) and 2525-M (2022) at Regional Trial Court Branch 42in Medina, Misamis Oriental. No bail bond was recommended.

Maylene Navarro is a resigned Sanggunian Bayan member in the municipality of Talisayan in Misamis Oriental.

The couple allegedly promised a “double your money” scheme to people from Surigao del Sur and Misamis Oriental who invested in Demeter Agribusiness Organic Farming, which they own.

“There is no such thing as groups or companies guaranteeing high returns on investment in a short period. PNP (Philippine National Police) Caraga has always warned our citizens about investment scams, advising them not to be enticed and never become involved. Caraga police will pursue and apprehend perpetrators regardless of your title, as long as you have culpability in our law,” said Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat, Jr., regional police chief.

Maj. Dorothy Tumulak, spokesperson of PNP-Caraga in Butuan City, said they didn’t know how many complainants have filed charges against the Navarro couple.

She added they didn’t know the amount of money involved since Misamis Oriental is outside of their jurisdiction.

Tumulak, however, said she received information from Talisayan Municipal Police Station that many residents have filed complaints against Maylene for not fulfilling her commitment to repay their investments.

The same company has been the subject of complaints by at least 200 residents including three village chairmen in Marihatag town in Surigao del Sur who have invested some P50 million as claimed by the vice governor during a segment of the popular TV show Raffy Tulfo in Action in March 2021.

Josefino Pandeling Jr., barangay chair of  Antipolo in Marihatag who led the protest against the vice governor for failing to pay the promised return, said his family invested at least P3 million.

Pandeling son’s Joseph told TV host Raffy Tulfo during a live Facebook interview that Navarro promised to return their investment by February 2021 but nothing happened. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)