Casino junket financing personalities, who reportedly took off at least P4B worth of supposed “investments” from at least 10,000 “investors” in the Cordillera and nearby regions, have been indicted of syndicated estafa charges by the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office. Hector Pantollana, leader of the erstwhile Horizon Players Club casino junket operator, and 15 other personalities including the group’s Baguio and Cordillera region wing Team Z leader Hazen Humilde, will be tried for syndicated estafa charges after their “capitalists” reaching some 10,000 in Baguio City and the rest of Northern Luzon complained their “investments” reportedly reaching at least P4B, had not been returned to them.

Towards the end of July last year, “investors”, including “account managers” of “Team Z”, flooded the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera of complaints that they were defrauded of their “hard earned” money. Pantollana, his brother Hubert Amiel, brothers Hazen and Hein Carreon Humilde, Mikaela Damasco Ty-Choi, Virginio Casupanan, and several other “core leaders” duped them into believing that they would continue receiving their 5 percent monthly “returns of investment” and 2 percent more for those who convinced others to invest into the casino
junket financing scheme purportedly meant for the Okada casino in Parañaque.

More than 200 complainants headed to the NBI-CAR and most complaints have reached the panel of prosecutors instituted earlier by the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office to probe the formal complaints of syndicated estafa charges against Pantollana, Humilde and other alleged ring leaders. Earlier in March last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a Cease-and-Desist-Order (CDO) and had been instituted permanent by the end of 2023 against Pantollana, Humilde and other Team Z ring leaders, the Philippine National Esports League (PNEL) and at least four
dozen personalities more involved in the casino junket financing operation to halt its illegal investment scheme.

The said CDO however did not stop the casino junket group from operating not only in Baguio City but all of
Northern Luzon and beyond. Pantollana, through a lawyer close to him said, “there are people who were indicted but not having any single participation on the alleged felony. The conspiracy was not proven or no probable cause to
establish conspiracy.” In the first place, the complainants knew it was for the casino business, he added. In a statement released journalists August last year, Humilde said, ”(they) want the plain truth behind the fraud complaints.”

“Accusations of fraud, the statement issued by Pantollana, his brother Hubert Amiel, brothers Hazen and Hein
Carreon Humilde, Mikaela Damasco Ty-Choi, Virginio Casupanan said, “is unfair and bereft of verifiable evidence.”
They argued, “the money of the alleged complainants were not pocketed as alleged by some of them.” Pantollana and other ring leaders of the HPC, is also facing similar syndicated estafa charges in various locations in the country including several courts in Metro Manila.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

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