Duterte spokesperson warns public against Facebook scammers using his name

Photo: ABS-CBN News

Have you received a Facebook message from a certain “Salvador Panelo” who is asking for money? Ignore it, block it. It’s a scammer.

Panelo, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson, yesterday warned the public about scammers on Facebook who are allegedly using his name to extort money.

He told reporters about a former schoolmate at the University of the Philippines (UP) named Perry Callanta, who texted to ask him about the PHP200,000 (more than US$3,800) that the spokesperson allegedly borrowed from him, reported Manila Bulletin. 

Panelo learned from a friend that a fake Salvador Panelo messaged Callanta on Facebook to ask for moolah.

The real Panelo became peeved and called Callanta. He said it made him so upset that he wanted to curse like Duterte, who is known for unabashedly spouting off expletives even in public events.

Panelo was quoted by The Philippine Daily Inquirer: “I told him, ‘I wanted to curse like the President. I cannot even imagine why people like you would be entertaining this kind of scam. You know my number, why didn’t you call me?'”

This development led the presidential spokesperson to quit Facebook, according to the Philippine News Agency.

He said: “For the umpteenth time, I’m cautioning the public to be wary of scams using my name. As a result of this, I have decided to cut all my Facebook accounts, [Facebook] Messenger and everything so that they (scammers) can no longer use it.”

This is not the first time Panelo heard about the nefarious activities of his alleged online doppelgängers. He said that it was the fifth case where con men used his name.

Panelo also mentioned these scammers way back in October. The spokesperson alleged that these imposters were given PHP300,000 (more than US$5,702) by his friends thinking that it was going to be donated to the rehabilitation of Marawi, Philippine Star reported.

Back then, he said he already reported the case to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Panelo thinks that scammers are using his name because he believes that his reputation is spotless.

He said: “I really cannot understand why these people who are supposed to know me would be believing that [scam]. The only reason I think, that I can conclude is that my name seems to be very credible so they’re using my name.”

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