A lady investor belonging to the rich Gaisano family and duped by her stock brokerage company is not pleased with the way her syndicated estafa complaint is progressing in the court.
Valerie Gaisano-Sebastian, one of the daughters of business tycoon Edmund Gaisano Sr., is perplexed by attempts to transfer the hearing of the estafa case against officers of DW Capital Inc. from Cebu City to Makati or Quezon City. She filed the charges on behalf of her mother, Judy Gaisano.
The Gaisano camp suspects a high court official is instrumental in trying to recommend a change in the trial venue, citing the powerful influence of the rich clan in Cebu. The official recommended the proposal to the SC’s first division, chaired by then-Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta. Valerie’s lawyer naturally resisted the move.
Valerie’s legal suit started in 2017 when DW Capital sold her aggregate investments worth P2.6 billion without informing her of the transaction. She later filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing the unauthorized transactions.
Valerie in October 2018 charged 10 DW Capital officers and personnel with syndicated estafa before the Cebu City regional trial court. Following the raffle of the case to Branch 7, Judge Stewart Himalaloan in March 2019 issued a warrant of arrest against the accused officers and personnel.
Judge Himalaloan issued the warrants of arrest to at least nine other accomplices who remain fugitives. They include Wong Chung Yin or David Wong, DWCI chief financial officer; Derick Wong, DWCI vice president and director; Dianne Wong, DWCI vice president for sales; Lucy Chua, DWCI assistant manager and corporate secretary; Juvy Ting, DWCI independent director; Susan Lu, Beverly Ansay and Leonardo Marzan.
In April 2019, Derwin Wong, one of the accused, was arrested in Makati. Derwin was married to Eda Frances Gaisano, Valerie’s sister.
Early this year, members of the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation, arrested DW Capital treasurer Davidson Wong in Madrid, Spain for the same syndicated estafa charge.
David Wong, another co-accused remains at-large but the fugitive managed to file a petition for a transfer of venue from Cebu to Makati or Quezon City on the grounds that the Gaisanos could influence the outcome of the trial in their hometown.
Valerie’s lawyers opposed the petition for transfer, citing that the judge and the city prosecutor had already determined that the Cebu City RTC had jurisdiction over the case, and that David Wong had not even asserted his innocence before requesting for a change in trial venue.
Derwin Wong, meanwhile, filed a petition for bail on May 7, 2019. To the surprise of the complainant, Judge Himalaloan granted Derwin Wong’s petition to post a bail of P800,000 despite the charge of syndicated estafa, a non-bailable offense.
Valerie’s lawyers, meanwhile, are puzzled by David Wong’s assertion about the Gaisanos’ supposedly strong influence in Cebu City. Valerie has lost her petition to oppose the bail filed by Derwin Wong despite the clan’s “influence.”
The Wongs are said to be influential in Quezon City and Makati, the two places where David Wong requested the trial to be heard. If any of the parties want to avoid influence-peddling from either side, then shouldn’t the case be heard somewhere where neither party has influence? The closest RTC branches to Cebu are in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Why the rush to transfer the hearing of the case to Manila?
Fugitive David Wong seems to be exerting his influence over a high court official in seeking the relief.
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