DILG to public: Beware of swindler offering package deals for fire safety, occupancy permits to bag biz deals

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The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warns the public anew on a swindler going around the country using the name of DILG OIC-Secretary Eduardo M. Año just to bag business deals for their company’s safety products.

In an Advisory, Año said that a certain Jesselyn Gavierez, who claims to be a representative of Safecon Industries, allegedly offered “package deals” to building contractors and developers to facilitate the release of Fire Safety Inspection Certificates (FSIC) and Occupancy Permits in exchange for purchasing their company’s safety products like fire extinguishers using his name and that of the Department.

“Ms. Jesselyn Gavierez is not connected with the DILG nor any of its attached agencies. I did not endorse her nor her company or any other person for that matter,” Año said.

The DILG has also directed the immediate conduct of an investigation into Ms. Gavierez’s reported “namedropping” and other similar activities using the good name of the OIC-Secretary.

DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that, as part of the Department’s anti-corruption campaign, they are encouraging all individuals who were swindled by Ms. Gavierez or by similar individuals using the same modus operandi to report such incidents to the nearest police station or DILG field office in their municipality or city.

“If there is reasonable ground to believe that swindling was indeed committed by this person, a warrantless arrest by private citizens can also be done on the spot as defined in the Rules of Court,” said Malaya.

“The moment an offer is made using the name of OIC-Secretary Año, you can immediately effect a citizen’s arrest. Just bring that individual to the nearest police station for booking and investigation,” he said.

Per Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, swindling pertains to false pretense or fraudulent acts using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceit is executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud.

Under Article 318 (Other Deceits), any person who defrauds or damages another through swindling shall be subjected to the penalty of arresto mayor and a fine of not less than the amount of the damage caused and not more than twice such amount.

Malaya added that officials and employees of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are prohibited from selling, offering to sell, or recommending specific brands of fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment to any applicant or requesting party or business entity pursuant to the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Act.

“Any BFP official or employee found violating the EODB Act shall be punishable by imprisonment of one year to six years and a penalty of not less than P500,000 but not more than P2,000,000,” he said. —DILGCO