POLICE now have a person of interest in the death of a top executive of an investment firm allegedly involved in an investment scam, whose body was found on a grassy lot in the hills of Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu, Tuesday night, Aug. 20, 2019.
Major Christian Torres, Balamban police chief, said after they found the body of Armando Bernaldez Oppus, 34, they received several private messages on their station’s official Facebook account pointing to a Davao City-based cop as the murderer.
Torres said the police officer went absent without official leave (Awol) sometime in June this year, after he reportedly invested a huge sum in Crowd Royals Real Estate Services.
Oppus was the chief executive officer of Crowd Royals, which was based in Digos City. Oppus and his two cohorts, Edmon Corona Quiñones of finance and Judy Ann Delatina-Estrella of marketing, had been wanted in the Davao region since June 2019.
Torres said according to netizens, Oppus arrived in Cebu with more than a million pesos in cash.
The police official believes Oppus’ alleged illegal activities involving large-scale estafa may have led to his murder.
He said several persons, whom he could not yet name, also claimed to be Oppus’ kin.
“We received a Messenger chat from someone who identified himself as the victim’s friend. According to him, he had contacted the victim’s family already and that the victim’s uncle, a policeman, is set to claim Oppus’ body anytime soon,” Torres said.
Oppus’ body is still in a funeral parlor in Balamban.
Crowd Royals is among the 22 investment scams that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the public about.
Assistant Director Oliver Leonardo of the SEC-Enforcement and Investor Protection Department said they have not yet filed any formal complaint against Crowd Royals before the Department of Justice.
However, even before the issue about Oppus came out, he said they had received reports and complaints against Crowd Royals, which prompted them to include it in their May 2019 advisory.
“Even before this, we gathered facts already. But we could not divulge it to the media yet. We are also bound by confidentiality. But we would also look into the allegations against him and his firm,” he said.
In a separate development, Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Capt. Ma. Theresita Plaza-Gaspan said they would help in the investigation on Oppus’ death.
“If we could find sufficient evidence that the said cop had involvement in the murder of Oppus, and that he was really previously assigned here in DCPO, we will pledge cooperation with the Balamban police,” she said.
According to Torres, the Davao City police said Oppus had five pending cases of estafa and a pending warrant for his arrest.
Torres said they have yet to find out where Oppus stayed while he was in Cebu. He, however, assured that the victim was not hiding in Balamban. (WBS)