Don't steal to buy a Lamborghini!!!
FORMER Asian Institute of Management president Felipe Alfonso has not been the lone victim in Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank) of the checks scam involving former students of his at the AIM.
Metrobank has just dismissed a female branch manager after it that it lost P2.1 million in a checks encashment scam in its Pioneer Kapitolyo branch that also involved the father and son Bitangas of the Corinthian Gardens subdivision.
The Bitangas are said to be students who have earned the Alfonso's confidence, so much so that Alfonso even entrusted four pre-signed blank checks to Anthony Bitanga, a young car accessories shop owner in the Global City area in Fort Bonifacio, near the Makati business district.
Instead of being used in a purported Batangas mission as had been directed by Alfonso, the young Bitanga palmed off the Alfonso checks, with a combined face value of P32.5 million, to acquire a Lamborghini Murcielago, a BMW 645 Ci, and a BMW X3.
What is strange is that when Alfonso, who was a Metrobank board member and chairman of the Metrobank risk management committee, entrusted his personal checks to Bitanga sometime in August, the Metrobank board had just concluded months of investigation and had approved the filing of "estafa" [swindling] and falsification cases against the branch manager and Mateo Bitanga, the father of Anthony, who is himself facing a string of estafa cases in various Metro Manila courts.
Stranger still, Alfonso has desisted from filing any criminal or civil case against the young Bitanga for having fraudulently used his checks, despite the educator himself now being sued for "estafa" after three of his checks that Bitanga used bounced.
According to the grapevine, Alfonso last week even agreed to raise P3 million just so the missing Lamborghini, valued at P20 million, may finally be released by a car dealer-money lender to the original owner, who, in turn, would drop the "estafa" complaint against Alfonso.
As it turned out, the missing Italian muscle car had been in the custody of Quezon City car dealer Rolando Esguerra, along with the BMW 645 Ci. Esguerra's alibi, according to the grapevine, is that Bitanga pawned the two luxury cars to him, allegedly for P7 million.
With the exotic cars still unreturned to the registered owner, the Camp Crame national police headquarters has issued a "hot car" alarm against the missing Lamborghini and BMW.
The other BMW, the X3, is apparently safe in the meantime, having been duly paid for, after the first of the four Alfonso checks, for P4 million, cleared. The German SUV was last seen being driven around by the young Bitanga, followed by a carload of bodyguards.
According to the grapevine, Alfonso called up the Metrobank Corinthian Plaza branch to hold off the encashment of the first check while he was scrambling to put funds into his account, which he managed to do after two days.
If this version is correct, then Alfonso knew all along as to how much and to what purpose his first check went.