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Actor Manzano ‘no show’ at NBI scam probe

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ACTOR and product endorser, Luis ‘Lucky’ Manzano, the son of former actress-turned-politician, Vilma Santos and actor Edu Manzano, thumbed down the subpoena issued by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Monday, February 20, 2023, sending instead an employee of his lawyer to answer the complaint filed against him for fraud and ‘large-scale estafa,’ a non-bailable offense.

The scandal, brewing since last year, arose after at least 50 ‘investors’ complained to the NBI that they were duped into investing their money at ‘Flex Fuel’ a company that identified Manzano as its ‘chairman.’ It is estimated that some P100 million was involved of which, Manzano claimed, he also lost some P66 million by the time he resigned as its chairman and main endorser February last year.

Manzano has instead pointed the accusing finger to his co-accused, Ildefonso ‘Bong’ Medel Jr., as the man who ran away with the money.

But in an interview by the mainstream media, Jinky Sta. Isabel, who is also the ‘spokesperson’ of the victims numbering about 100 in all, said it was Manzano’s endorsement that convinced them to plunked their money with Fuel Flex during a zoom meeting they held sometime in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We invested because of Luis Manzano. His message during a Zoom conference in 2020 resonated with us. We trusted in Flex Fuel because his name was attached to it,” Sta. Isabel pointed out.

In a column piece by Mary Ann LL. Reyes last December 11, 2021, at the Philippine Star (see link here), Reyes bared that Fuel Flex, where Manzano was still chairman at the time, was among the 10 local petroleum companies “not authorized to sell securities to the public because they have not been issued registration/permit to sell securities.”

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