Of trusting too much and being true to one’s word

“If it is too good to be true….it is probably a fraud.”

For victims who have lost thousands of their hard-earned money to operators of the cryptocurrency trading scam, the advice from one Ron Meyer comes way too late.

The scheme, marketed on Facebook and through agents of one Darius Panti, offered to turn P10,000 to P15,000 in just three days or P20,000 into P80,000 within a month or two.

The promise of huge earnings were backed up by posts showing investors, with their faces blocked, counting their payouts. Already drooling at the prospect of nearly instant riches, many people – from ordinary workingmen to professionals and even business owners – soon dug deep into their savings or incurred big loans just to hand them over to the scammers and their agents.

And all these exchanges of money occurred without the investor receiving even a signed piece of paper acknowledging the investment.

All they had as guarantee that they would receive their payouts was the word of the scammer and nothing else, except perhaps for those who saved the screenshots of their conversations on Facebook Messenger and Panti’s posts.

There is no assurance that the filing of criminal cases before the court would lead to the return of their investments. Sure, whatever is left in the open bank accounts could be divided, along with the proceeds from the sale of real properties, as well as the pet dog the couple supposedly bought for P105,000.

But certainly, not probably, any “refund” the investors would not be enough for them to recover what they gave.

On the matter of trust, Presbyterian minister and speaker Frank Crane had this to say: “You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.”

The scam victims trusted too much and relied too much on what they saw on social media, not heeding the dictum that money does not grow on trees.

It is perhaps a coincidence that two of the most popular names on Facebook among islanders today are connected with the Catanduanes State University.

One is alleged scammer Darius Panti, who was a radio broadcast operator at its Panganiban Campus before he and his wife fled the island.

The other is President Patrick Alain Azanza, whose recent pronouncements and official actions have earned critical praise from stakeholders and observers alike.

Expect the public, therefore, to keenly follow his moves after getting initial approval from the Board of Regents for the investigation of irregularities at the university, starting with the alleged fraudulent exchange of a lot owned by CatSU with one supposedly belonging to a Calatagan family but actually titled in the university’s name, along with various initiatives he has launched.

The same goes for his vow to “provide for equal opportunity and fair treatment to all, where meritocracy, qualifications and potentials are given premium, instead of patronage and kinship relations…”

With the recent opening of vacancies in the university to applicants, fans and critics of Pres. Azanza alike are out to keep an eye on the forthcoming appointments he will make soon, just to see if he will keep his word.

This early, public trust in the CatSU president remains high and should endure until the end of his term as long as he stays within the path to the university’s first century of excellence.

What separates his promises from that of a scammer is that Dr. Azanza has that integrity, sterling background, and wealth of experience to give CatSU’s clientele and the Catanduanes public what they rightfully deserve.

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