Other victims urged to come forward, press charges against Pastor Billy

By: Pegeen Maisie M. Sararaña - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | June 15,2021 - 02:23 PM

Pastor Billy is now detained at the NBI-7 detention facility. | Mae Fhel Gom-os

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7) is asking the other victims of Pastor Billy to visit their office and press charges against him.

Bernardo Albarando, who is referred to as Pastor Billy by members of their religious congregation, was arrested for large scale illegal recruitment and estafa during an entrapment operation on June 10.

“Karong panahona, kung naay recruitment, you go to the POEA, i check if legitimate bani. Sa kalisod sa panahon, naa pa gihapoy mutake advantage. You know tha pandemic, grabi kaayong affected. Daghang nawagtangan og trabaho unya daghan sad magpahimos aning sitwasyona. Imbis tabangan atoang mga kaigsuonan nga mangita og trabaho, birahan pagyud,” Oliva said.

(Do not forget to go to POEA and verify if the recruitment offer is legitimate. There are still those who continue to take advantage of the difficult times that we are now in. You know the pandemic , it has several ill effects. Many lost their jobs while many are also taking advantage of the situation. Instead of helping our brothers find employment, there are still those who would opt to take advantage.)

READ: ‘Pastor’ jailed for large scale illegal recruitment, estafa

Albarando, 53, has denied the accusations against him.

But Lawyer Renan Oliva, NBI-7 director, said they have at least four men who claimed to have been victimized by Albarando.

He is asking about six others to also visit their office and press charges against the Argao town native.

Oliva said that on June 9, the four complainants sought their help after they were promised employment as factor workers earning at least P178, 000 per month in New Zealand.

They were asked to shell out P160, 000 each for the processing of their travel and employment documents.

“Aside sa processing fee, sumpay sumpay ang pagpaningil. After paningil ani nga fees naa napoy pangayuon kay murag ilangay langay ang processing kay kasunod naa nasad siya pangayuon. First kay processing fee worth around P35,000 after that is another worth P45,000,” he added.

(Aside from asking for the payment of processing fee, they were also made to pay several other fees. After making an initial payment, they are again asked to shell out cash otherwise the processing of their papers will be delayed. First, they were asked to pay P35, 000 and another P45, 000.)

One of the victims, who asked not to be named, said he trusted that Albarando’s employment offer was done in good faith since he was a pastor.

He also checked online on the background of their supposed employer and found that it was a legitimate company abroad.

What he did not know is that Albarando, who claims to be an associate of said company, created a “bogus” email account using the company’s name to communicate with the applicants and make it appear that their papers were already being processed by their employer.

During their investigation, Oliva said that a company representative denied any knowledge of the pastor’s recruitment.  They were also told that the email address that he suspect was using was not their company’s official email address.

And it was not the first that their company’s name was used by unauthorized individuals.

Oliva said they also checked with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA-7) and found out that the pastor was not a licensed recruiter.

Following the outcome of their investigation, Oliva said they planned the entrapment operation that was made in a mall in Barangay Banilad, Cebu City on June 10.

The spouse of one of the four applicants was the one who met with Albarando to hand him the balance of her husband’s supposed due.

After he received the cash, NBI-7 agents approached Albarando and asked for his name and POEA license.  He was brought to the NBI-7 headquarters after he failed to present the needed document.

One Friday, June 11, operatives filed complaints for large scale illegal recruitment and estafa against the suspect at the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.  Inquest was held on Monday, June 14. / dcb

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