A Singaporean national who challenged authorities to “catch him if they can” is now behind bars after the prosecution team from the Dept. of Justice secured his conviction in an estafa case filed in Dumaguete City.
Judge Rosendo Bandal, Jr. of the Dumaguete City Regional Trial Court Branch 34 found accused Jonathan Lee Seng Tan alias Jonathan Tan Lee Seng, , a retired computer engineer, 52, single, of 87 McPersian Road, Singapore, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa (Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code).
In a 15-page Judgment, Tan was meted the penalty of imprisonment from four years and two months of Prision Correccional, to eight years of Prision Mayor as maximum.
He was also ordered to pay Bethel Guest House, a hotel in Dumaguete City, P19,506.52, with legal interest of 12 percent per annum until fully paid.
In the Information filed by Assistant City Prosecutor Alvin Aseniero, Tan was accused of “having obtained credit by way of accommodation, food and other services from the Bethel Guest House in the total amount of P19,506.52” from Aug. 19 to Sept. 1, 2013.
The court said that according to the prosecution, Tan “was accommodated in the hotel after he was allegedly robbed of his belongings at Quezon Park, Dumaguete City at past 11:30 o’çlock in the evening of August 18, 2013.”
He was also assisted by a hotel staff to contact his relatives in Singapore and the Singaporean embassy so he could replace his stolen passport and settle his financial obligations with the hotel.
A hotel staff testified that she exchanged emails with Tan’s brother but no money was sent to pay Tan’s bills.
On Sept. 1, 2013, the accused just left the hotel without paying his obligation.
The prosecution also presented as evidence Tan’s Facebook account printout of text messages where he boasted his alleged other criminal activities in La Trinidad and in Iloilo City and challenging legal authorities to “catch him if they can.”
The court stated that “the wilful and deliberate act of the accused in defrauding the hotel on the payment of his hotel bill is very manifest and evident.”
It further stated that “it appears obvious that the allegation of the accused that the bag containing his money and personal belongings were stolen while sitting in the park is a mere concoction and fabrication on his part.”
The Dumaguete City Jail Warden was directed to immediately transfer Tan to the New Bilibid Prison where he will serve his sentence.
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima commended Assistant Prosecutor Aseniero for successfully prosecuting the case. “Let this be a warning to everyone. Our laws are enforced against anyone who is under our country’s jurisdiction, and foreigners are definitely not exempted,” De Lima said.