THE Philippine National Police (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has arrested three individuals, including two policemen, for extorting around P1.5 million per month from transport groups in Bacoor City, Cavite.
In a press conference on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, in Camp Crame, PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda said he has ordered the relief of Bacoor City Police Office officer-in-charge (OIC) Lieutenant Colonel Jesson Bombasi over command responsibility.
Police Lieutenant Colonel Juan Oruga was designated as the new OIC.
The CIDG identified the arrested policemen as Senior Master Sergeant Joselito Bugay and Staff Sergeant Dave Gregor Gawaran, both assigned at the Bacoor City Police Office.
Also arrested was a civilian identified as John Louie de Leon, while another, Edralin Gawaran, head of the Bacoor Traffic Management Department of Bacoor City, fled.
Acorda said the arrest of the suspects came during the conduct of an entrapment operation in Barangay Molino in the morning of Tuesday, September 19, 2023.
Recovered from the suspects were three firearms and several ammunition.
Acorda said the operation stemmed from a complaint from local transport leaders and the local government of Bacoor City on the illegal activities involving cops.
He said the suspects were demanding P170,000 monthly grease money from each transport group in the city which will serve as their protection from any violation.
“It is estimated that they amassed around P1.5 million per month, with an average of P170,000 per transport group. The police officers allegedly used threats to coerce drivers and transport leaders into providing these payments, which were supposedly intended for officials of the Bacoor traffic management department and other individuals involved,” he said.
CIDG Director Major General Romeo Caramat said the victims sought help as they can no longer keep up with the demands of the suspects.
He said they are still identifying the other cohorts of the arrested suspects.
The suspects will be charged with robbery, illegal possession of firearms and violation of the Omnibus Election Code related to gun ban.
Bacoor City Administrator Aimee Neri said the Board of Discipline of the Bacoor City Government will convene for the conduct of its own investigation on the matter.
Acorda said the arrest of the suspects is a clear testament that the national police organization will not tolerate its erring members.
“I commend the CIDG for successfully apprehending these three suspects. This operation against police officers Bugay and Bautista sends a powerful message to any remaining rogue individuals in uniform,” he said.
“It showcases the unwavering dedication of the PNP to cleanse its ranks, restore the organization's integrity, and rebuild public trust,” he added.
Acorda also ordered police commanders to strengthen their monitoring of their areas of jurisdiction over possible similar cases.
“I am encouraging ‘yung ating mga kababayan na huwag matakot, magsumbong. Again inuulit ko being with the counter-intelligence for quite some time, kokonti lang ‘yung mga gumagawa ng kalokohan and dapat magtulungan tayo tungkol sa bagay na yan, sa paglilinis ng ating pamayanan,” he said.
(I am encouraging our countrymen not to be afraid, but to report. Again, I repeat being with the counter-intelligence for quite some time, there are only a few people who do nonsense and we should work together on that matter, in cleaning up our community.) (SunStar Philippines)