TAGUIG City Mayor Sigfrido Tinga on Tuesday warned the public, especially business establishments around the city, to be wary of people misrepresenting themselves as the mayor asking for favors.

The warning was aired by Tinga after a bogus caller, on separate incidents last week, attempted to deceive two Taguig business locators, asking for financial favors. The caller who posed as Mayor Tinga has phoned Del Monte Philippines and Mini Global City.

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“I call on the business sector to be vigilant against anyone who would use my name or my office to ask any favor, and more so, solicit funds. There is an obvious organized move to besmirch my name, all part of dirty-politicking made by my political opponents as the 2010 election nears,” Tinga said.

He stressed that all transactions between the City Government and the business community are done in an official and formal manner, and not through personal calls asking for favors.

The local executive advised business owners who will receive such calls to immediately report incidents of this nature to the city’s emergency hotline 1623.

In the first incident (January 22), a certain Amado Pineda, posing as a staff of Mayor Tinga called Del Monte Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer Joselito Campos Jr., asking for money, on behalf of the mayor.

A staff of Campos verified the call with the mayor’s office and confirmed that the call was a hoax.

On January 15, the bogus mayor also called the Mini Cooper cars dealer in Global City through its Marketing Communications Manager, Margarita Baybay, asking for a discount on a car that he intends to buy. The impostor even asked Baybay to tell her boss to return call regarding the transaction. The cost of a Mini Cooper ranges from 1.8 to 3 million pesos.

Believing that it was very uncharacteristic of the mayor to ask for such a favor, Baybay verified the call with a staff of Mayor Tinga and found out that the caller was indeed an impostor.

Last year, a person pretending also to be Tinga also attempted to solicit cash donations from Taguig-based business establishments: Henry’s by Good Earth; Encore (formerly Embassy Bar); Chef Roland Laudico, owner of Bistro Filipino; Megaworld Corporation; Enderun College Fort Bonifacio Campus; and a factory at the RSBS Industrial Park in Barangay Western Bicutan.

Tinga said he already advised the local police to investigate the matter and find out the real identity of the bogus mayor. (AH/Sunnex)