The hunt for a wolf in sheep’s clothing

By Manuel P. Mejorada

There was something sinister about Francis Leo Marcos even just from the looks of him that I found repulsive. For about two weeks, his pictures were regularly seen on the YouTube suggested videos panel. Just one look at his face was enough to convince me this is a no-good guy.

But my curiosity got the better of me. Why was this man’s videos flooding the suggested videos panel? And why was everyone seem to be talking about him and his so-called fabulous wealth? What was this racket he was pulling off that the Green Meadows Homeowners Association in that upscale subdivision in Quezon City literally kicked him out of the community?

I have also started to receive messages from my YouTube viewers asking if his “philanthropy” was genuine. That’s when I started to entertain doubts about this man’s real agenda. At the age of 61, I have had enough experience as an investigative journalist smelling a rat from a mile away. With FLM, as he loves to be called, the stench was so overpowering.

At the outset, I got hold of some documents, including a letter sent by former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) asking the agency to investigate Francis Leo Marcos for using the Marcos name for illegal activities. I wanted to be sure that the letter was authentic. I got in touch with friends who had access to the Marcoses. One is very close to former Senator Bong Bong Marcos. The other had a direct line with the inner circle of the former First Lady.

When both of them confirmed that the letter was authentic, I immediately went to work and research this malevolent personality on social media.

Even if I found his personality repulsive, I had to force myself to watch some of his videos. I had to watch him and listen to him firsthand. It took only a few seconds into the first video for me to conclude that indeed, this man is a con artist. His braggadocio, his arrogant display of his jewelry before the camera, his manner of speaking, his eyes, his attire — everything fit into the definition of a scammer or budol-budol in the book, “The Confidence Game: Why We fall For It… Every Time” by Harvard professor Maria Konnikova.

He is a fake Marcos. His real name is Norman Mangusin. He has already a long trail of victims with his fraudulent schemes, especially in Mindanao. In the past, one of his favorite scams was the conduct of optical missions to give free eyeglasses to indigent persons. For each activity, he solicited big amounts of money from unsuspecting people. His victims didn’t find reason to doubt his purpose. After all, he was a Marcos who is fabulously wealthy, or so he claimed.

I also researched the literature on con artists. The one book that stands out as the authority on scammers is Konnikova’s “The Confidence Game.” I read dozens of articles and watched YouTube videos by experts like Dr. Todd Grande and Dr. Keith Campbell. One thing I realized after absorbing all the information and knowledge is that my own gut instinct about Mangusin was justified. These experts say people who knew how could actually distinguish a scammer just by looking at a person.

I have started to bring all the research into a YouTube video series about Francis Leo Marcos a.k.a. Norman Mangusin. The first three episodes came out in the last one week. I am now working on episode number four, which I hope to upload to YouTube by tonight or tomorrow (Tuesday).

There are people who tell me this is not the right time to bring out the expose. What they don’t know is that this fake Marcos is capitalizing on the Covid 19 pandemic to scam his victims. This will be explained in detail in episode number four. Hence, to delay this expose would allow him fool people into giving him their hard-earned money.

One of my objectives in putting out this video series is educate people about how con artists work. I believe this is a big contribution to society. I have been bashed black and blue by this man’s fanatics. But I refuse to be cowed. Their violent reaction only served to convince me they are afraid of being exposed.