Lapu businesswoman nabbed for illegal recruitment and estafa

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararana and Paul Lauro - CDN Digital Correspondents | February 04,2021 - 06:34 PM

Leonora Cantero a.k.a Leigh Abad’s mug shot after she was arrested for illegal recruitment and estafa in Lapu-Lapu City | Photo courtesy of AKG

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Agents from the Anti-Kidnapping Group-Visayas Field Unit (AKG-VSU)-7 and the Lapu-Lapu City Police, on Wednesday, February 3, arrested a businesswoman based in Lapu-Lapu City for alleged illegal recruitment and estafa.

Police served the warrant of arrest on Leonora Cantero, 38, at her residence in L15B7, Acacia St., Mactan Tropics Subd., Barangay Basak, Lapu-Lapu City.

She is facing 2 counts of illegal recruitment and 7 counts of estafa.

Cantero denied the allegations and insisted she has evidence to prove her innocence.

Police Lieutenant Zosimo Ravanes Jr. of the AKG-VSU-7 said that the arrest warrants against Cantero were issued last 2014 and 2016 by the Las Piñas Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the Marikina Regional Trial Court (RTC) and were forwarded to them just recently.

Cantero’s alleged large-scale illegal recruitment cases are non-bailable while the 7 counts of estafa are bailable at P40,000 per case.

Police said they conducted three-week surveillance on the suspect whom they found out was using the alias Leigh Abad on her business ventures. They said that through the help of one of the complainants they were able to verify that Leonora Cantero and Leigh Abad are one and the same person.

Through a joint operation of AKG -VSU led by Ravanes under the direct supervision of Police Colonel Salvador Alacyang of the Central Visayas Field Unit (CVFU) with Regional Intelligence Division 7 (RID7) and City Intelligence Unit of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LCPO) and in coordination with Las Pinas City Police, they were able to locate the whereabouts of the suspect.

Cantero, on the other hand, denied all allegations against her and even showed to reporters some documents that she claimed were signed by the complainants stating that she already paid P139,0000 to each of them last January 23, 2015, at the Las Pinas Prosecutors Office.

“… meron na pong ebidensya na binayaran,” Cantero asserted.

Cantero allegedly recruited 7 individuals whom she promised jobs as caregivers in the USA. Cantero denied recruiting the victims and instead pointed to the cousin of her ex-husband who is an American resident.

Cantero also denied hiding from authorities.

“…if you’re hiding from someone, di ka mag e-expose, di ka maglakaw, di ka mamalengke”, Cantero said.

As of this posting, the police said they will be bringing Cantero back to Manila to face the charges against her.

Ravanes said that the suspect also presented an affidavit of desistance to prove that the cases against her were already settled but was advised to present the said document to the court.

Ravanes added that they are also planning to file a separate case against Cantero for using an alias. /rcg

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TAGS: estafa, illegal recruitment, Las Piñas Regional Trial Court, Marikina Regional Trial Court, warrant of arrest

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