Na-budol: 8 ‘appointees’ scammed in fake positions

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

It’s the sign of the times when scammers are themselves scammed.

Eight would-be presidential appointees paid big sums to be sworn into office last Friday. But to their chagrin, there was no such scheduled event at Malacañang.

They’d been had.

The eight arrived as a group at 2 p.m. They had received notices from supposed Palace Undersecretary Eduardo Diokno and Asst. Sec. Johnson See. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. purportedly was to lead their oathtaking.

Why they had paid for the positions is obvious. They intended to bask in glory and make money out of being ambassador to The Netherlands, Transportation assistant secretary, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority board member, Clark International Airport Corp. president and chief executive officer, Early Childhood Care and Development Council executive director and vice chair, Clark Development Corp. director and Port of Batangas manager.

An evildoer can use any public office for personal gain. A signature, a procurement, even delaying document release can be profitable. Murmurs hound Marcos Jr.’s admin about greedy officials extorting hundreds of millions of pesos in exchange for key positions.

The scammers surely knew that. They also knew whom to victimize. The eight fell for it.

Apart from warning the public against scammers, the Presidential Communications Office gave scant details. The eight were unnamed. Likely, however, they came in their best barong and terno. Spouses and offspring must have accompanied them. Reservations and down payments could have been made for self-congratulatory banquets.

No swearing-in was in the President’s schedule, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Hubert Guevara said. Nor were there Malacañang aides surnamed Diokno or See.

The eight were advised to cooperate with the NBI probe. Still, what befell them makes people thank poetic justice. It also reminds of “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.”

Like most Filipinos, Ali Baba had been victimized many times over. His greedy elder brother Cassim took over their late father’s business, leaving Ali Baba to fend for himself as woodcutter. Ali Baba came upon the cave where 40 thieves hid their loot. Overhearing the magic words, he entered the hideout when they left, took a bag of gold coins, leaving behind other treasures.

Cassim found out and pressured Ali Baba to reveal the cave’s location. Hauling off precious metals and jewelry, Cassim forgot the magic words and was trapped inside. The thieves caught, killed him and hanged his body by the entrance to scare away future intruders. Ali Baba recovered the body and hired a mortician for the burial.

The thieves realized that someone else knew their secret. Searching the town, they zeroed in on Ali Baba and attempted several times to murder him. Foiled each time, it was the thieves who ended up dead. And Ali Baba took over their hidden wealth.

If only Filipinos can triumph like Ali Baba against the corrupt.

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc

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