BY JOEL CALAMBA ESCOL, Managing Editor
MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is set to hear allegations of fraud and large scale estafa filed by the complainants against Flex Fuel Petroleum Corporation and actor-TV host Luis Manzano on February 20, 2023.
The initial hearing, it was learned, was aimed at hearing Manzano’s side on the allegations of large scale estafa and fraud filed by over 50 complainants against the actor and Flex Fuel Corporation, owned and founded by his friend Ildefonso “Bong” Medel.
Earlier last week, the actor was summoned by the NBI but the actor’s lawyers asked for extension of the said invitation asking him to personally visit the NBI office and air his side of the issue.
The complainants tagged the actor as Flex Fuel company’s chairman of the board and the one who convinced them to invest during a zoom conference.
Manzano, however claimed, he resigned from the company on December 21, 2022, according to his affidavit he submitted to the NBI.
Manzano said he even made a letter dated November 8, 2022, and which was addressed to the NBI, to investigate ICM group including Flex Fuel Corporation.
Manzano’s claims were also confirmed by NBI spokesperson Atty Gisele Garcia-Dumlao in an interview with GMA News.
Dumlao said a separate complaint against Flex Fuel, and filed by the actor, was also received by the office.
According to an earlier report aired by GMA News, a complainant named “Leo” invested over a million after they saw the actor act as the speaker and presented the marketing plan of Flex Fuel company.
“Pumasok po sa aming Zoom meeting si Luis Manzano at nagpakilalang owner at chairman ng Flex Fuel. Ito raw po ay isang lifetime business, pandemic business kaya po napakaganda po. Ako po ay nagloan sa bangko upang mapadala po sa Flex Fuel para po sa investment. At ng April 22, 2022, makalipas ang anim na buwan, wala pa rin po silang natatayo na gasoline station. Kahit isa,” Leo told the media in an interview.
Earlier, another complainant Jinky Sta. Isabel claimed she invested P3.9 million. But Sta Isabel said they are willing to drop their case if Flex Fuel pays them back their supposed investments.
“Ibalik niya ang pera namin. Kahit principal, ‘yung buong pera lang namin na dineposit sa account niya. Kahit wala na ‘yung kinita, wala na ‘yung interes. Hindi na kami magsasampa ng kaso,” Sta. Isabel stressed.
The management of Flex Fuel has already denied the scam allegations from the complainants but explained the company was hit and affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which they have no control over.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered actor denied his involvement into the P100-million investment scheme, pinpointing to Medel as the person handling the management and operation of Flex Fuel.
Manzano’s lawyer Regidor Caringal, reports said, sent a letter to NBI Director Atty. Medardo de Lemos, that the actor Luis Manzano resigned as chairman of Flex Fuel in 2022.
Manzano’s lawyer also told the NBI director that Medel’s company even owed his client, Luis Manzano, a total of P66-million.
“I never took part in the management of the business. Bong conducted the business in such a way that operational matters were kept away from me,” Manzano explained.
Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a certification, informing the public that there are petroleum companies that are allegedly selling securities even if they have no license to sell supposedly issued by SEC.
The SEC, in its certification, identified the following companies as PetroMobil, FlexFuel, Jeafer Fuel, Maximum Fuel, Power Fill, Nirvana Fuel Corp., Marz Fuel, Ofir Petroleum, Astral Fuel, and iFuel.