Rasuman, others plead not guilty-A A +A
Friday, May 30, 2014
JACHOB Rasuman, the suspected mastermind in the alleged multi-million peso double-your-money scam, along with 12 others, pleaded not guilty when they were arraigned at a local court in Cagayan de Oro City Thursday morning, the regional prosecutor’s office said.
Rasuman, who also goes by the name “Coco,” and his co-accused, including his wife Princess and father-in law Sultan Yahya Tomawis, are facing five counts of syndicated estafa cases in the city alone.
According to reports, the suspects are also being charged for the same case in other areas like Manila and Marawi city.
The charges the respondents are facing in Cagayan de Oro City are being handled by Judge Vincent Rosales, the presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court’s 25th branch.
Unlike in Rasuman's appearance at the Hall of Justice last year where his first arraignment was set, Wednesday’s arraignment proceedings were uneventful with most people unaware that he was in the city, said Regional Prosecutor Jaime Umpa.
In January 2013, when he first arrived in Cagayan de Oro for the arraignment, Rasuman was heavily guarded by police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents from his arrival at the old airport in Barangay Lumbia to his court appearance.
Last year’s arraignment was deferred as ruled by the Judges who used to handle the cases – Bonifacio Macabaya of Branch 20 and Judge Henry Damasing of Branch 23. It was finally reset Thursday, May 29.
Umpa said some of the complainants who were present at the arraignment did not create a commotion when the accused were escorted by NBI operatives inside the court room.
Rasuman and his companions flew in from Manila, where they are currently detained at the NBI headquarters on Taft Avenue, and arrived in the city Thursday morning.
After spending more than two hours in the court room, the suspects were flown back to Manila on the same day, Umpa said.
Also present during the arraignment were two members of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) panel of prosecutors represented by Mari Elvira Herrera, assistant state prosecutor, and Caren Gail de Alban, public prosecutor.
Umpa said all the 13 respondents are scheduled to come back on July 28 for the pretrial hearing.
“During the pretrial, there will be marking of evidence, submission of list of witnesses and identification of issues (related to the cases),” Umpa told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Thursday afternoon.
In a television interview, Rasuman’s defense lawyer Anthony Marvin de Leon said they will present their own evidence on July 28.
The syndicated estafa that Rasuman and others are facing stemmed from the alleged get-rich-quick scheme that his company, NAD 21 Auto Option Trading Corporation, offered their investors, with an interest of 50 to 100 percent within a period of two months.
Most of the investors that were lured by the attractive financial return Rasuman’s firm offered come from the two Lanao provinces, and some are from this city.
Among the complainants who came forward and pressed charges against Rasuman and his associates are Achmad Sangcaan, who claimed he invested more than P5 million to NAD 21, and Naim Sampao, who claimed to have poured more than P14 million to the same firm.
Sangcaan is claiming damages of around P15 million, while Sampao’s damages claim is P26.51 million.
In a news report, Sangcaan in his complaint said Rasuman persuaded him to invest in the latter’s company with the promise of doubling his money after two months.
Sometime in November 2011, Sangcaan invested his car and some P300,000 in cash where he was repaid in January 2012, with a 50 percent interest.
More than four months after receiving his windfall from the investment he made with NAD 21, Sangcaan said he was again offered by Rasuman to invest in the BDR Group of Companies with a promise of free luxury vehicles in exchange for huge amount of investment.
Before Sangcaan could collect his investment and corresponding interest between June and July 2012, the Rasuman family allegedly declared bankruptcy.
This move prompted the investors to demand from Rasuman and his associates their money back where a series of lawsuits followed.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 30, 2014.