SC nullifies search warrant versus ‘boiler room king’ Pastrana
The Supreme Court (SC) has nullified the search affirmed the nullification of the search warrant against Amador Pastrana, who was tagged in news reports as the “king of boiler room” scams.
In a recent 17-page decision, the SC 3rd Division said the March 26, 2001 search warrant issued by Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 63 Judge Tranquil Salvador Jr., was null and void for being issued for more than one offense.
Salvador’s warrant also lacked particularity in the description of the things sought for seizure.
The warrant was issued both for violation of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC) and for estafa.
The SC noted the warrant was vague for not specifying what kind of SRC violation was found by authorities or through what means estafa was committed.
The prosecution tried to clarify that the SRC provision violated was Section 28.1, which prohibited persons from trading in securities without being registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
But, the SC said the allegations in the search warrant application did not indicate that Pastrana and his corespondent Rufina Abad acted as brokers or dealers without prior SEC registration.
There was also no proof that the two lacked the license to operate as brokers or dealers.
“Such circumstance only reinforces the view that at the time of the application, the NBI and the SEC were in a quandary as to what offense to charge respondents with,” read the decision penned by then-Associate Justice Samuel Martires.
A Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) report in April 2002 claimed Pastrana was behind more than 100 boiler rooms and shell companies worldwide.
“Boiler rooms” pertain to schemes where salesmen using high-pressure tactics over the phone to sell stocks that do not otherwise have a market.
Under Pastrana’s supposed racket, clients who agree to buy stocks transfer their payments, only for it to turn out that nothing was actually purchased.