‘Gawgaw budol-budol’ swindles P50M out of unwitting victims nationwide
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Bataan arrested in Metro Manila and Laguna on Wednesday two of seven suspected members of the “gawgaw budol-budol” gang who reportedly swindled about PHP50 million in cash from various victims around the country.
SP01 Joseph Mejia, CIDG–Bataan investigator, named those arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued by a Bataan Regional Trial court judge as Jonathan Asuncion alias Engineer Luis de Guia, and Antonio Laugan alias Manny.
Asuncion was nabbed in Caloocan City while Laugan in Victoria, Laguna.
The five others are still at-large and the subject of manhunt.
“The true identities of the suspects are gay but they pretended as men when they approached those whom they are going to victimize,” the investigator said.
He showed pictures of Laugan as a male and dressed as a woman.
“The operation of the gawgaw budol-budol gang is nationwide. There are some P50 million they already swindled from the victims who reported and it might even be higher as there are still some who are not yet reporting,” Mejia said.
“My advice is to know first if the products are legitimate and to determine if the agent or supplier who is offering the products is legitimate too,” he said.
The group was called gawgaw budol-budol gang for using starch to fool their victims like in the case of Leonardo Austria, 62, a resort owner in Balanga City.
“In November 18, 2017, I was swindled by P8.3 million. The P1 million was in cash and the others were through bank transfer,” Austria said.
He said prior the incident about a month before, two men came to his resort, one introduced himself as an importer of canned goods and the other as a Chinese.
“It all started when my son in the United States posted in Facebook about our apartment for rent wherein my address in Balanga City and cellphone number were indicated,” Austria said.
This was followed by his posting in Facebook of a property in Bagac, Bataan when another set of men and women introduced themselves as agent interested in the property.
It turned out that the man who introduced himself as an importer and those posing as land agents were cohorts.
Austria said he was hooked into paying 250 boxes of supposed chemicals for use in preserving tuna and additional of 250 boxes more that he paid for P8.3 million.
He was offered a finder’s fee of P1,000 per box with one box worth P25,000.
“When the chemicals were examined in the laboratory, it was found out that those were only starch,” he said.
Austria said he gave P1 million in cash to Laugan, while P4 million and the remaining more than P3 million were withdrawn at the BPI main branch in Makati and Magallanes branch, respectively.
He said that during the bank withdrawals, Asuncion with another suspect, Winifredo Adriano, was his textmate.
He added he learned that the group has victimized many from Paranaque, Bulacan, Quezon City, Caloocan and other areas that totaled more than P50 million.
“My advice to my fellow overseas Filipino workers retirees is, whatever you earned, be contended,” Austria said.
Austria spent 32 years of his life working in oil and gas operations in various countries.
“I am not involved there. I was only implicated by Winifredo (Adriano). I was never been to Bataan and did not receive PHP1 million,” Laugan said.
Chief Inspector Rex Perucho, CIDG provincial chief, said investigation and the hunt for other members of the group are going on. (PNA)