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HIGH HOPES FOR THE ARREST OF AMERICAN FUGITIVE

With the recent arrests in Thailand of brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, former governor of Palawan province and mayor of Coron town, respectively, hopes are running high that an American wanted for “big time” estafa in Subic could be collared by authorities soon.

The Reyes brothers fled the country in 2012 after they were implicated in the murder of broadcaster and environmentalist Dr. Gerry Ortega who frequently criticized them for alleged links with illegal mining and misuse of public funds.

On the other hand, Timothy “Tim” Joseph Desmond, 66, former executive of the Subic Bay Marine Exploration, Inc., which runs Ocean Adventure and Camayan Beach Hotel in the Subic Freeport, has been a fugitive since November last year after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 72 of Olongapo City.

“We hope that the long arm of the law will finally catch up with Desmond,” said Lawyer Enrique dela Cruz of the Ponce Enrile Reyes and Manalastas Law Office (PECABAR), “that would certainly build a lot of public confidence on our judicial processes.”

The non-bailable syndicated estafa and simple estafa cases were filed against Desmond by businesswoman Virginia S. Dio some 11 years ago but have dragged on for over a decade, even reaching the Supreme Court which finally ordered RTC 72 on June last year to proceed to hear the cases.

While the Reyes brothers carried a P2M reward each for their capture, Desmond carries a P1M reward for anyone who can provide information that will lead to his arrest.

Desmond allegedly duped Dio into investing some $2.15 M or over P100 M into Ocean Adventure but used the money for his personal gains, instead, according to the complaints.

Dio said she has been pursuing the cases against Desmond not necessarily to recover the money but to obtain justice and see the judicial system work.

She expressed concern that if a businesswoman of her stature could not obtain justice, how much more the ordinary Filipino who cannot afford the cost of long-drawn litigations.

Dela Cruz said that to date, it is yet to be determined whether Desmond has already left the country. “Nevertheless, we have asked the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Interpol Manila to issue a Red Notice against Desmond and have sought the assistance of the Bureau of Immigration,” he added.

Dela Cruz is also urging the public to provide information on Desmond. “The P1M  reward is intact and ready,” dela Cruz assured, ”all you have to do is report to authorities or to our law office what you know of Desmond’s whereabouts.” 

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