Former DPWH Undersecretary, his son Coco Rasuman and nine (9) others charged with syndicated estafa; warrants of arrest issued

27 November 2012

In a Resolution dated 22 November 2012, the Special Panel of Prosecutors from the National Prosecution Service (NPS), created by Department Order No. 963, resolved to charge JACHOB "COCO" A. RASUMAN, his father, former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary BASHIR DIMAAMPO RASUMAN, and nine (9)
other individuals for violation of Article 315, par. 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC), in relation to Presidential Decree No. 1689, or syndicated estafa.

The case arose from various complaints filed by individuals, led by Abuamar D. Sambitory in his own behalf and that of twenty-four (24) other cocomplainants, who claimed that the accused, who represented themselves as directors and officers of NAD Auto Opinion Corporation, enticed them "to invest with the respondents because of the grant of high-interest schemes and guarantee of extraordinary return in investments," promising between 85% to 150% return on investment within a period of two (2) months. Because of such promises, the accused succeeded in persuading the complainant Sambitory, not just to part with his own money, but also to invite other relatives and close
family friends to invest, which altogether amounted to a total sum of ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MILLION PESOS (P 120,000,000.00), which, under the scheme, was calculated to yield up to P 274,075,000.00 in just two (2) months. However, aside from the purported yield for the months ofFebruary and April 2012, which complainants were nonetheless persuaded to re-invest, the accused have failed to pay maturing obligations on their investments, ceased business operations, and could no longer be located.

The case was initially filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cagayan de Oro, but was subsequently re-assigned to the Special Panel of Prosecutors, which was created by Secretary of Justice Leila M. De Lima after the discovery of another grand-scale pyramiding scam operating in the Mindanao area, commonly referred to as the "Pagadian" or "AMAN" scam, necessitated the formation of such Special Panel of Prosecutors.

Said Panel found that the elements of syndicated estafa are all present, specifically that "[b]y their modus, respondents, who are closely related to each other, showed unity of design and purpose in defrauding the public" by "holding out to the public that NAD Auto Option Corporation and BDR Group of Companies exist, albeit untrue, and successfully inducing them to invest and part with their money...."

Pursuant to said Resolution, an Information charging members of the Rasuman family, especially those involved in the "moneymaking corporation in the name of NAD Auto Option, a member of the BDR Group of Companies, which was managed and owned by the accused," was filed yesterday morning, November 26, before the Regional Trial Court of Cagayan de Oro City.

The case, docketed as Crim. Case No. 2012-1090, was raffled to Branch 20, RTC-Cagayan de Oro City, presided by Judge Bonifacio M. Macabaya. Warrants of arrest were issued yesterday afternoon, Nov. 26, with NO BAIL fixed, the crime of syndicated estafa being a non-bailable offense.*

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