The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday that the Philippine National Police-Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) have arrested two alleged extortionists in Pangasinan for swindling and extorting from local government officials by posing as senior DILG officials.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año identified the suspects as Natilyn Decipulo, 29, a former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), and Richard Tacto, 45, who used the name of DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya to extort money from unsuspecting mayors and governors.
“The long arm of the law finally caught up with them, at gaya nga ng sinabi natin (and like I said), we will bring these people to justice lalo pa at pangalan ng mga opisyal ng DILG ang kanilang ginagamit sa kanilang modus (as these people use the names of DILG officials in the illegal activities). Let this serve as a warning to all would-be criminals, we will find you wherever you maybe,” Año said.
“A manhunt is currently underway to find the other members of this criminal syndicate named the ‘Decipulo Criminal Group,’” he added.
The DILG chief noted the modus operandi of the Decipulo Group is to introduce themselves as DILG employees working under Malaya and “solicit” money from local chief executives (LCEs) in exchange for the dropping of pending administrative cases filed against them.
“Another modus is the poseur tells the mayor or governor that the DILG will donate cavans of rice to be distributed to their constituents who were affected by recent calamities and in exchange the LCE has to send money for the cargo or delivery expenses of the supposed donation,’’ he added.
In both instances, the DILG said the victims are asked to deposit the money to a remittance center or to a bank account of their choosing.
Año revealed that the police investigation later revealed that the Decipulo Group are behind at least 20 extortion activities victimizing governors or mayors in Luzon, Visayas, Caraga, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
He added: “The PNP CIDG finally caught up with Decipulo when she was arrested during an entrapment operation while claiming the P72,000 that she extorted from Mayor Gerandy B. Danao of the municipality of Narra, Palawan in a remittance center in the city.’’
Decipulo was arrested after Danao alerted the DILG and the PNP that a certain “Regan dela Cruz,” who claimed to be a staff of Malaya, extorted money from him.
The arrest of Decipulo was made possible through the joint efforts of PNP-CIDG, both from the PNP national headquarters and its regional field offices in Pangasinan and Palawan.
Año congratulated the PNP-CIDG led by Police Major Gen. Joel Coronel and Police Col. Jay Dimaandal of the Anti-Organized Crime Unit, PNP CIDG for the arrest and filing of criminal cases against the suspects.
“Congratulations to the PNP-CIDG for a job well done!” he said.
Decipulo is facing charges of robbery-extortion, estafa, and violation of E-Commerce Act and was brought to CIDG-Dagupan Sub-Office SATT-2 for proper investigation.
PNP-CIDG Pangasinan Provincial Office chief Police Lt. Col. Jerry Corpuz said that Tacto, also a member of the Decipulo Group, is cooperating with authorities for the arrest of the other suspects.
Malaya asked all mayors victimized by the Decipulo Group to contact the DILG or the CIDG and likewise file criminal cases against the suspects.