LUCENA CITY, Quezon: One of the principal suspects in the P1.4 billion investment scam that duped hundreds of people, including teachers and policemen, was arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) here after almost two years of hiding.
Chief Inspector Arvin Fabro, CIDG-Quezon chief, said Gerald Joseph Morillo was picked up from his house on Friday in Calmar Homes Subd., Barangay Kanlurang Mayao of this city, through a warrant issued by Judge Joselito Tamaray of Lucena City Municipal Trial Circuit Court Branch 2.
Fabro said Morillo initially resisted the police team, saying he should not be arrested in the absence of his lawyer and tried to escape, but was overpowered by the arresting officers.
Two policemen – Senior Police Officer (SPO) 3 Bienvenito Maxino and SPO1 Rommel Percol – were injured during the scuffle.
Morillo, along with his wife Jenellie, one Luzardo Lucido and 12 others, alleged officials of South Luzon Multipurpose Cooperative (SLMC), are facing a string of estafa, economic sabotage and swindling cases filed by Lucena City police for duping hundreds of people.
Through its marketing arm, Grand Alliance of Business Leaders Association Inc. (Gabai), SLMC amassed over a billion pesos from local investors who include government employees, teachers, jeepney and tricycle drivers, policemen and soldiers, and members of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) from Lucena, neighboring towns and provinces.
The SLMC-Gabai allegedly offered a 40-percent weekly interest for investments ranging from P350 to P35,000 a day.
It also offers points for every P350 investment, which their shareholder could use to buy merchandise such as groceries and appliances sold at the SLMC-Gabai compound along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Isabang here.
Lucido, Gerald Morillo and wife Jenelle Morillo, who are the key players of SLMC- Gabai, were reportedly INC members.
Based on the cooperative’s organizational chart gathered by the police, Lucido is the administrator in addition to his position as chairman of Gabai; Gerald Joseph Morillo, account manager; Jenellie Morillo, logistic officer; Jean Camille Bautista, technical sales officer; and Ireneo Magbanua, liaison officer.