By Betheena Kae Unite
Two individuals, who posed as Customs brokers, were arrested in an entrapment operation after allegedly demanding half-a-million peso from a consignee for the release of a shipment, the Bureau of Customs said Thursday.
The suspects identified as Lawyer Roberto Geotina and Nancy Nuguid were nabbed after taking the bait Customs Intelligence Group and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) set up for their arrest in a restaurant in Quezon City Monday.
A complaint against the Geotina and Nuguid reached the bureau on Monday, claiming that the two demanded P500,000 in exchange for the release of the shipments consigned to SHACKA Guns and Ammo which was held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
After the complainants provided sworn statements to the NBI, the two bogus customs brokers had contacted them again to arrange a meeting in Quezon City. The authorities then planned to take advantage of the situation.
A team from Customs and NBI was then deployed to execute the entrapment operation. The suspects were apprehended after accepting the marked money.
Investigation showed that Geotina and Nuguid were not customs officers but “bogus brokers who were allegedly extorting money from the Customs stakeholders.”
“We will not tolerate extortion and all forms of corruption in the Bureau,” Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero said.
“Customs will be cooperating with the NBI on their investigation. If any Customs officer is involved in this extortion, or any other illegal activities, we will make sure that they are prosecuted accordingly,” the commissioner added.
Investigation will continue to identify, apprehend, and prosecute any other personalities who may have participation in the alleged extortion, Atty. Emeterio Dongallo, Jr., chief NBI-Special Action Unit, said, adding that an Estafa case will be filed against the two arrested suspects.
Meanwhile, Guerrero warned Customs officers who unlawfully hold shipments in order to blackmail legitimate businesses and individuals for money.
“Let this serve as a warning. The bureau will do everything in its power to rid the organization of corruption,” the commissioner said.