Ruben Capahi, legal counsel of Go, told Judge Judilyn Hugo Tapia-Menchavez during the court hearing at the Regional Trial Court Branch 59 in Toledo City, Cebu Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, that Go-Chu was only fully informed about the criminal case after the arrest warrant was issued against her.
Michelle Lim Go is also known by her married name, Michelle Go-Chu.
On Jan. 23, 2023, a warrant of arrest against the accused, Michelle Lim Go, Lorenzo Baltonado Jr. and his wife, Jerlyn Joyce Baltonado, was issued by Tapia-Menchavez after businessman Kaiser Christopher Tan filed a large-scale estafa case against them.
However, Tan, through his lawyer Francisco Amit Jr., said they have documents and evidence proving that the camp of Go did receive the notices and subpoena beforehand, making her aware of the criminal cases filed against her.
After the court hearing, Capahi declined the request of SunStar Cebu to comment on the issue.
In an omnibus motion filed on Jan. 27, 2023, Go pleaded to the court to (a) suspend the proceedings against Go, (b) recall the arrest warrant issued against her or suspend its implementation, and (c) order the Toledo City Prosecutor’s offices to conduct the proper preliminary investigation.
Capahi argued that his client never received a subpoena or notice from the Toledo City Prosecution Office in relation to the complaint, or the resolution finding probable cause. Hence, she was not given the opportunity to answer the allegation and seek all remedies.
He said his client learned about the case and her arrest warrant only on Jan. 26 and that she was deprived of her right to participate in the preliminary investigation.
Capahi said his client’s address, which the complainant gave to the city prosecutor’s office, was incorrect as the complainant had indicated Go’s address as the same as that of the Baltonado couple, the other respondents of the case. Thus, it was not accidental that Go did not receive the subpoena or notice.
He added that similar cases were also filed by the complainant in Naga City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City and Danao City bearing the same residential address of his client with the Baltonado couple.
Amit argued, however, that Go had not been deprived of due process, and that the argument of not receiving a subpoena or notice was not true. He said the accused had received the subpoena filed against them.
On Nov. 19, 2022, Amit filed a motion for reconsideration with the City Prosecutor to include Go with the other respondents.
This was after the criminal complaint filed by Tan against her was first dismissed by the city prosecutor for lack of merit to include Go in the case.
He added that the motion was even shipped on Nov. 21, 2022 to Ormoc City, Leyte, one of Go’s residences, where it was received by her authorized representative on Nov. 28, 2022.
Amit questioned why Go was able to file a counter affidavit on the similar complaints they filed in Naga City, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Lapu-Lapu City against her, where Go mentioned in her counter affidavit the criminal case filed against her in Toledo City.
He said based on their evidence, Go camp’s was able to receive the complaint.
Last Jan. 27, Tan, through his lawyer Amit, offered a P1 million reward to anyone who could provide the location of Go and the Baltonado couple, whom he has accused of defrauding him of almost P200 million in an alleged investment scam.
Amit said the accused invited Tan to invest in them in exchange for a huge return on their investment.
But Tan said the 30 checks they issued to pay him back all bounced.
A petition filed in late 2022 by the Baltonado couple for the financial rehabilitation of five companies, mostly construction related, that the couple owns and controls in Ormoc City and Albuera, Leyte, shows that Tan was among 71 individuals and entities that had lent money to the couple.
Some of the loans from these private lenders were made through the intercession of Go, who acted as the couple’s intermediary, according to the petition.
In their petition, the Baltonados said the private lenders had lent them a total of P1.089 billion.