TWO transportation office employees and three deputized agents were nabbed during an entrapment operation on Thursday afternoon in Baloy, Barangay Tablon, Cagayan de Oro City.

Apprehended by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) were Edgardo F. Arafol, 49, of Barangay Carmen; Napple Jun U. Moralde, 29, of Santa Cruz in Barangay Lapasan; Roger L. Eponia, 47, of Barangay Carmen; Michael F. Montajos, 22, of Buntong, Barangay Camaman-an; and Rogelio M. Salas, 18, of Binitinan, Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental.

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Arafol and Moralde are employees of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Northern Mindanao assigned at the Road and Public Safety while Eponia, Montajos, and Salas are deputized agents of LTO.

CIDG Provincial Officer Danilo Balmes said the entrapment was made after two motorists, Ricky Robonanza and Tito Donas, filed separate complaints of extortion against the LTO personnel.

In his complaint, Robonanza said he was flagged down by Arafol along Baloy national highway on July 8 around 2:30 p.m. and threatened to confiscate his driver's license if he will not give the amount of P2,000.

Donas said Arafol also demanded P1,000 after he failed to bring the certificate of registration (CR) and official receipt (OR) of his driven motorcycle and is using only his student permit.

After receiving the complaints, an entrapment operation was set by CIDG led by Balmes on Wednesday in Baloy, Barangay Tablon at around 3:30 p.m.

Balmes said the LTO personnel manning the checkpoint flagged down the CIDG's decoys and demanded money in exchange for their immediate release.

The LTO personnel were later arrested by operatives of the CIDG who were in civilian clothes after the money was handed over by the decoys.

The LTO staff even resisted arrest and attempted to scuffle to avoid handcuff even after the police officers identified themselves.

The arresting officers recovered from Arafol P1,000 and a caliber .38 pistol loaded with five live ammunition placed inside a black belt bag with together with 19 live ammunition of the same caliber.

They also recovered two pieces of P500 bills from Moralde's possession and crumpled money amounting to P3,180 inside the LTO vehicle, which was placed inside a wooden drawer.

Balmes said after laboratory and medical examination, both Arafol and Moralde were found positive of ultra violet powder.

Criminal charges are now filed against the five LTO personnel. (ALR)