Elderly woman loses over P700,000 to ‘budol-budol’ gang

A 68-year-old retired government employee went to a radio station to ask for assistance after losing around P700,000 in cash to “budol-budol” or a swindling gang last Friday, May 24, 2024.
A 68-year-old retired government employee went to a radio station to ask for assistance after losing around P700,000 in cash to “budol-budol” or a swindling gang last Friday, May 24, 2024.(Photo by AYB)

A 68-YEAR-OLD retired government employee went to a radio station to ask for assistance after losing around P700,000 in cash to “budol-budol” or a swindling gang last Friday, May 24, 2024.

The victim, only identified as Lydia from Barangay Bulacao, Cebu City, said in a radio interview that she was supposed to spend the money she received from her GSIS pension for three years after retiring at age 65 for her heart bypass as well as her pilgrimage visit to Israel.

She narrated how a woman who spoke Tagalog approached her outside her home and asked if she knew of any drugstore where she could buy medicines for her sick father, who was being treated at a private hospital.

According to Lydia, the woman identified herself as being from Thailand and was doing rice trading business in Cebu.

The woman also claimed that she was carrying P1 million in cash, which was placed in a paper bag.

In the middle of their conversation, another woman interrupted them and asked what they were talking about.

When Lydia responded, the second woman volunteered to take them to a Pardo store where they could buy the drugs.

However, a third woman met them there and informed them that the drugs could be purchased for P48,000 at their Mandaue branch.

The first woman then asked the victim to accompany them to Mandaue on board her vehicle and the latter agreed.

While they were traveling, the first woman told the victim that she should put her money in the bank to keep it safe.

The suspect then begged the victim to help her as she didn't know how to open a bank account.

When the second woman suggested creating an ATM account, the first suspect responded that she didn't know how to withdraw money from an ATM, which is why they needed Linda to assist her.

As a result, they dropped by a bank in downtown Cebu City and asked Linda to withdraw cash from the ATM and offered to give her half of the total amount on her card.

"Nahaylo ko sa iyang giingon sir ba nga iya ko premyohan kung pila ang sulod sa akung bangko ang katunga ani maoy iyang ihatag sa akoa. Daku na kaayo kay mga P500,000 kapin man to naa, so naa koy mga kapin sad P200,000," Lydia said.

(I was intrigued when she said she would give me half of the money I put in the bank, sir. I have more than P500,000 in the bank, so I will get more than P200,000).

Lydia withdrew all the money from her two accounts amounting to more than P200,000, and then they transferred to another bank to encash her check worth P300,000.

After withdrawing the money, she also gave her 4,000 US dollars to the suspects, which she had saved for her pilgrimage visit to Israel.

In return, the first woman gave her the paper bag that was allegedly filled with P1 million and was wrapped with packaging tape.

The woman also promised to pay her a visit at her Bulacao home the next day, Saturday, before they parted ways.

Lydia then realized she had been duped when the woman did not show up at her house on the scheduled meeting day.

She assumed the bag contained fake bills and handed it to the DyHP radio station without opening it.

Because the offenders did not wear face masks, Lydia claimed she could identify them if she saw them again.

Lydia acknowledged that the way the woman begged for help—always crying and giving her hands a kiss—had mesmerized her. (AYB, TPT)

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