ANTIPOLO CITY, NOVEMBER 22, 2003  (STAR) By Cecille Suerte Felipe - Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) arrested a key officer of the Tibayan Group Investment Co. Inc. accused of being involved in a pyramiding scam, in Antipolo City yesterday morning.

The NBI said Palmy Tibayan, 30, wife of Jesus Tibayan, one of the incorporators and owners of the Tibayan Group, was collared by agents of its Special Task Force under assistant regional director Marianito Panganiban, at her residence in Cogeo Village in Barangay Nayon.

Panganiban said NBI operatives placed the area under surveillance after they were tipped off that Tibayan had been there for more than a week.

After confirming Tibayan’s presence, the NBI agents, armed with warrants of arrest issued by different , swooped down on her house and arrested her.

Panganiban said the Tibayan Group allegedly gypped 495 investors of a total of P211,356,389.

Tibayan, however, denied ever having gone into hiding.

"My husband is just trying to find ways to raise money to pay our clients. We do not intend to cheat our clients," she said. Jesus is still at-large.

Tibayan said she was only trying to protect their four children whom, she claimed, their clients have threatened to kidnap to force them into paying their debts.

She alleged that a Malaysian national, a certain Martin Parimalan, was the one who enticed them into investing in bank guarantees.

She, however, said that when their clients started to withdraw their investments, Parimalan could no longer return their money, thus the filing of estafa charges against them.

Three other pyramiding scam suspects are now under police custody. They are Rosario Baladjay of Multi-Tel, Ervin Mateo of the Mateo Management Group, and Maria Teresa Santos of MTST.

Besides Jesus Tibayan, still being hunted down are Ezekiel Martinez, Liborio Elacio, Jimmy Catigan and Nilda Baran. They face warrants of arrest for the non-bailable offense of large-scale estafa.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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