The Puerto Princesa City police arrested on Friday a city resident who scammed a young couple from Batangas into traveling to Palawan as tourists and taking from them P12,000 supposedly to book a hotel for them in El Nido.
City Police Station 1 chief P/Cpt. Ray Aron Elona said a case of estafa will be filed against suspect Luciano Louwiel Dagaraga Legaspi, a resident of Hagedorn Road, Barangay San Pedro.
He was arrested on January 15 in an entrapment operation after the couple Shaira Quiñones Cuaresma, 22, and her boyfriend Jhenssent Clarence Legaspi Nocom, 19, complained to the police.
Elona said Friday that the couple flew to Puerto Princesa City on January 11 via a Cebu Pacific flight from Manila. Legaspi, their local contact, reportedly facilitated their 3-day quarantine at a city facility by declaring before the City IMT that they were relatives traveling into the city.
“Mayroon din tayong hawak na file, na itong suspek ay tumulong sa kanila para magkaroon sila ng acceptance dito sa Palawan,” added Elona.
He said Legaspi wrote to Dr. Dean Palanca of the Incident Management Team (IMT) of Puerto Princesa for the acceptance of Cuaresma and Nocom whom he introduced as his cousins who will be reporting for work.
“In-approve yon ni Doc Palanca. Nakalagay doon sa sulat niya (Legaspi) is for work purposes ang punta dito, unknowingly na for tourism pala ang kanilang pagpunta dito,” said Elona.
After staying for three days in quarantine at the Asturias Hotel, the couple was allowed to leave and traveled to El Nido.
However, the victims learned upon arriving in El Nido that their contact did not arrange for them any hotel booking.
“Pagdating nila ng El Nido, wala silang booking. Ang ginawa ng may-ari ng hotel pinatuloy na lang sila dahil naawa sa kanila,” Elona said.
“Nagkasa agad tayo ng entrapment operation dahil itong suspek kinokontak pa rin sila (victims) para sa booking na naman ng hotel [accommodation],” he added.
Elona said Cuaresma and Nocom transacted with Legaspi through Facebook where the former offered to facilitate their visit.
“Ayon sa ating mga victims, kinontak nila ang suspek dahil sa mga comment niya sa page ng Palawan regarding nga sa pagpasok dito,” Elona said.
Elona said that the P12,000 amount that Legaspi accepted from the couple was for the payment of their hotel accommodations in El Nido and was part of the transaction.
Elona said Legaspi admitted to receiving money from the victims but denied that he “scammed” Cuaresma and Nocom because they allegedly have a transaction. (with a report from Aira Genesa Magdayao)