Posting bail, businessman-influencer Francis Leo Marcos claims ‘persecution’ after arrest

Marcos at the Bureau on May 19, after being served a warrant for alleged violation of the Optometry Law <i>Photo: National Bureau of Investigation / FB</i>
Marcos at the Bureau on May 19, after being served a warrant for alleged violation of the Optometry Law Photo: National Bureau of Investigation / FB

At the heels of his arrest over the alleged unauthorized distribution of eyeglasses in Baguio City, and following the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) probe into his purported other crimes, businessman-influencer Francis Leo Marcos yesterday claimed that he was being politicized for his “helpful” actions.

The NBI yesterday nabbed Marcos in his Eastwood, Quezon City residence for allegedly violating the Optometry Law by handing out eyeglasses without approval from the Philippine Association of Optometrists.

Read: NBI arrests businessman, controversial YouTuber Francis Leo Marcos

The controversial personality who gained popularity during the lockdown, has become somewhat of a hero among common folk due to a viral internet challenge in which he calls out the wealthy for failing to help the poor amid the COVID-19 crisis. His widely publicized philanthropic works hasn’t exactly sat well with other people, for which Marcos said sorry.

“For people I’ve offended with my ‘Mayaman Challenge’ [‘Rich People Challenge’], I apologize,” The 41-year-old businessman said, in an interview on news show 24 Oras.

“My only purpose was to help, and not cause people nuisance, But if [the latter’s] the case, then I will accept that persecution, I don’t have a problem if I’m being persecuted for that,” Marcos added in English and Filipino.

NBI Cybercrime Division Chief Vic Lorenzo told reporters in the same interview that Marcos is under investigation for other crimes, which includes a non-bailable warrant issued against Marcos back in 2006 for violation of the Anti-Human Trafficking in Persons Act over his alleged “involvement of the recruitment of children.”

“I’m not involved in any of those illegal activities. I have never been a criminal, and have not been involved in any kidnapping of any kind. I work hard, I’m just a hardworking guy,” Marcos said, responding to the allegation.

Adding to the beffudlementLorenzo alleged that Marcos also went by the name Norman Mangusin.

“We have retrieved documents which affirms that he is a certain Norman Mangusin…He submitted a passport [where he’s named] Francis Leo Marcos, and another document where he’s Norman Mangusin. So which is which?” Lorenzo said.

“But we believe that his real name is Norman Mangusin,” the NBI chief added.

Earlier, the businessman influencer had claimed in a Facebook post that he was related the widely-known Marcos political clan, but former first lady Imelda Marcos has clarified that she and the Marcos clan are not related to the Marcos Group of Companies CEO, despite them sharing the same last name.

Meanwhile, NBI Chief Public Information Officer Nick Suarez told reporters that Marcos will be posting a PHP20,000 (US$395) bail set by the Baguio City Court.

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