By ABS-CBN News
MANILA - A woman was arrested on Monday over an alleged scheme that used the name of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s spokesman to solicit money, the National Bureau of Investigation said.
Caseilyn Cardenas was arrested at her home in Bocaue, Bulacan in an entrapment operation by NBI agents, the agency said.
The group Cardenas was allegedly part of created a fake Facebook account under the name of Marcos spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez. It was allegedly used to ask people for money which the BBM-Sara UniTeam would supposedly use to help victims of Tropical Storm Agaton.
The suspect denied that she knew she was participating in an online scam that made use of Rodriguez's name or that of the UniTeam's.
"Bigla na lang ako napasok sa ganito kasi yung commission basis na sinasabi," Cardenas said. "Hindi nako nagtanong kung para saan 'yon. Nasilaw ako sa pera.”
She added that she was acting upon orders of a convict in the New Bilibid Prison.
“Kung tutuusin, BBM po talaga ako eh," Cardenas said. "Hindi dahil sa nalaman ko na sila… malinis akong tao. Kung alam ko lang na ganyan, labas ako.”
According to the NBI, the group has already victimized other people in the past.
The agency called on the public to verify the identities of personalities they are talking to on the internet before giving away money.
"Napakarami naming kaso na natatanggap na puro scam sa online. Ngayon, hindi naman siguro mahirap na mag-verify lalo na kung magbibitaw kayo ng malaking pera," said NBI Special Action Unit Executive Officer Kristine Dela Cruz.
Marcos' camp sued Cardenas for violation of RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, as well as attempted estafa.
Rodriguez thanked the NBI for its action.
"I have not asked from, nor have authorized anyone, to solicit funds for our campaign, disaster relief operations or for any other lawful purposes," Rodriguez said in a statement.
"Let this arrest serve as a stern warning to others who form part of this group that we shall take all legal means necessary to stop their criminal activities and make them fully accountable for their deplorable deeds," he added.
- With a report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News