By Jeffrey Damicog
A barangay personnel has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly attempting to extort from rehabilitating illegal drugs user in exchange for their being removed from the police watchlist.
NBI Director Dante Gierran identified the suspect as Saturnino Santiago, a Barangay Anti-Drugs Abuse (BADAC) coordinator in Valenzuela City.
Santiago was tasked to oversee the rehabilitation process of drug dependents and had the power and authority to declare those eligible to graduate from the Community Wellness Program.
The suspect was arrested last September 27 in an entrapment operation conducted by the NBI’s Special Task Force (NBI-STF).
Gierran said Santiago was arrested based on the complaint of a rehabilitating drug user who surrendered back in November 2016 before the Valenzuela City police after being included in the list of drug users and subjected to “Operation Tokhang.”
The complainant recounted that he was turned over to BADAC following his surrender to undergo rehabilitation under the supervision of Santiago.
The complainant said his graduation from the rehabilitation dragged on also due to his employment.
However, last September, Santiago offered the complainant that will facilitate his graduation from the program and be removed from the police watch list in exchange for P18,000.
After receiving relentless threats and demands from Santiago, the complainant sought the help of the NBI which set up the entrapment operation.
Following his arrest, Santiago was presented for inquest before Valenzuela City Prosecutor’s Office for direct bribery in violation of Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code and for violating Republic Act 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In the meantime, Santiago remains detained at the NBI Detention Center.