By Chito Chavez
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) warned local government officials and the public against an individual posing as a DILG Assistant Secretary to corner perks and solicit favors in the Zamboanga Peninsula region.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año identified the poseur as Salvador Hussey Escarian II, who was reported to have introduced himself as a DILG Assistant Secretary or in other instances introduced himself as a high-ranking Malacañang official during government conferences and activities.
According to a report received by the Office of the DILG Secretary, Escarian has reportedly even managed to hold a conference in Zamboanga Sibugay and Zamboanga del Norte, having successfully gathered DILG officials of the region.
“Make no mistake, this Escarian is not in any way affiliated with the DILG or any of our attached agencies. Do not be victimized by his posturings,” warned Año.
The DILG Chief says that the fake Assistant Secretary supposedly uses fake documents to gain the trust and support of local government officials and national government agencies (NGAs).
Based on a report submitted by the DILG regional and provincial offices, Escarian attended the launch of Mamamayan Ayaw sa Anomalya, Mamamayan Ayaw sa Iligal na Droga (MASA MASID) in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay, and a meeting with Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Palma where he was introduced as Assistant Secretary from the Office of the President.
The Provincial Government of Zamboanga Sibugay also confirmed to the DILG that they provided vehicular support to Escarian for more or less one month upon his request when he was in the province.
Escarian allegedly also posed as an Assistant Secretary for Malacañang and managed to solicit an estimated P200,000 from the LGU of Payao for his expenditures.
In a separate incident, Escarian had also falsely identified himself as a rice importer and broker representing the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
Año advised the LGUs to immediately report to the Philippine National Police (PNP) any attempt of Escarian to establish contact with their designated offices.
“I urge all local government officials to be more vigilant. Let us not be fooled by individuals intending to cause disarray in our ranks. This individual is identified as a nuisance and we will get to the bottom of this,” he noted.
Año reminded the LGUs and the public to always access the DILG website, as well as official information hubs of attached agencies, to check the names and contact details of officials from the DILG, LGUs and national government agencies.