A lawyer who tried to bid for the Philippine presidency in 2002 filed a multi-million-peso estafa lawsuit against 15 persons who belong to a group claiming to be a world army, accusing them of engaging in a “well-organized real estate criminal racket or swindling operation” in Limao, Babak district of Samal.
Two of the 15 were also accused of threatening to kill the lawyer last month.
Charged with large-scale estafa before the Regional Trial Court in Panabo City are Decierdo Sosas, Jesus Rueles, Mateo Gacotano, Arsenio Redoble, Josefina Merida, Perseverando Dalumpines, Marto Presores, Jose Acedillo, one Leovino Apat, Eddie Dinampo, Jesus Acedillo, Juancho Acedillo, Maria Acedillo, Marsotalina Acedillo, and a certain Magdalina Acedillo, all board of directors of the Filipino Crusader World Army Federation (FCWAI), all residents of Camp 23, Limao, Babak district, Island Garden City of Samal.
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Also charged with grave threats are Sosas and Rueles, both high-ranking officers of the FCWAI.
Their accuser is lawyer Elly Velez Pamatong, who lists his address as Fort Impact in Bitas Arayat, Pampanga.
Like the accused, Pamatong also claims to head a world army, among many groups.
Pamatong identified himself as the president of the Moncadian Filipino Crusader World Army Federation Incorporation (MFCWAFI), the Moncado Settlement and Colony Incorporation (MSCI), and the Moncadian Church of the Philippines Incorporation (MCPI).
In his complaint affidavit, Pamatong said that the respondents divided a “historical landmark”, a 23-hectare lot known as the Camp 23, into 187 lots and sold these to innocent buyers, telling them that they were the actual owner of the land.
Pamatong said Camp 23 was actually owned by one Hilario Camino Moncado, a self-proclaimed five-star general of his own army and founder of the Moncado movement that has spawned followers called the Moncadistas.
Pamatong placed the value of Camp 23 at P230 million, claiming each hectare in that area is now worth P10 million. He added that it is estimated that innocent buyers have paid the respondents roughly 20 million pesos already.
He further claimed that the accused group has been suing the Moncado army for ownership of the land but has lost “in all cases it filed”. And yet, Pamatong claimed, the other group continues to exercise acts of ownership of the land.
One Eloisa Perocho executed an affidavit claiming that since birth, she and her parents have been residing at Camp 23.
She said that Sosas made them believe that the FCWAI is the owner of Camp 23 and that the organization won the cases it filed against the MCFWAFI.
Perocho said Sosas required her and her parents to pay P300,000 per lot for the three lots she and her parents occupy. Sosas, she added, told them to pay by installment or else the organization will drive them out of Camp 23.
Perocho added that Sosas told her that the latter was authorized to collect payments for Camp 23. Sosas allegedly claimed that he was also officially authorized by the Island Garden City of Samal to collect taxes.
Believing that he was so, Perocho said, she paid the taxes. It was only recently Perocho learned about Sosas’s illegal operation when she met Pamatong who told her that Sosas and his organization has lost in all cases it filed against his.
On July 10, 2006, Pamatong claimed he called up Sosas in order to find out if there was a way they could stop selling Camp 23 to innocent buyers and to turn over the original title to his possession.
Sosas said the right person to talk to is Rueles as the latter is the “Pope” of the Moncadian Church of the Philippines Inc.
Sosas, who was allegedly with Rueles that time, handed his cellphone to Rueles.
Pamatong said that when he recognized the voice at the other end of the phone, he started explaining why he should turn the title over to the MFCWAFI.
But before he could finish what he was saying, Pamatong said Rueles interrupted saying: “I will not discuss Camp 23 with you. If I were you never even enter Camp 23 nor Camp 19 because we will kill you. I will be the one to face you to prove that I am not afraid of your plan to sue us in court.”
After Rueles’s threatening words, Pamatong claim, Sosas again took the phone and continued the rant saying, “That’s our answer to you attorney. You might not be aware that we were ready to order someone to kill Commander Lahi and his companions when they tried to fence off Camp 19. It’s good that the people who actually entered were associated with the mayor.”
It was not explained who Commander Lahi was although there was one man known as Commander Lahi here who has been carrying the name of Edmundo Pamintuan and who also headed an army-type of sect called the Discovery Crusade of the Philippines Inc., which had its headquarters along Ponce Street in Davao city before Pamintuan also tried to bid for the Philippine presidency at the time Fidel V. Ramos was also seeking the presidency.
Like Pamatong, Pamintuan was also disqualified. He was reported to have died somewhere in Luzon several years back.
Pamatong added that Rueles, who is claiming to be the “Pope” of the MCPI, is not, in any way connected with the organization. MCPI is SEC-registered under Pamatong’s leadership.