NBI arrests DOJ employee for P1-M extortion attempt

Published December 18, 2020, 1:39 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

A Department of Justice (DOJ) employee has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for allegedly asking from a customs broker P1 million as “pasalubong” (a welcome gift) for retired Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan.

The arrested suspect reportedly claimed that Cascolan would be appointed shortly as Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs.

NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin presented on Friday, Dec. 18, the suspect whom he identified as Louie Miranda, a contractual employee of the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Lavin said Miranda was arrested by agents of the NBI’s Special Action Unit (NBI-SAU) during an entrapment operation last Tuesday, Dec. 15, in Quezon City where he was caught receiving marked money from complainant Ramir Gomez.

Following his arrested, Miranda was presented for inquest last Wednesday, Dec. 16, before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for robbery/extortion.

The NBI spokesman said Miranda was arrested “for dropping the name of a police official that will be assuming the chief customs position and made representations thereon with some brokers demanding P1 million from each broker.”

“Parang sinasabi niya rito na pasalubong ito doon sa incoming customs chief (Miranda is saying that this is a gift for the incoming customs chief),” Lavin said.

The NBI official said Miranda, who claimed that he was sent by Cascolan himself as emissary, even warned customs brokers that if the P1 million is not paid “it will be raised to P10 million” next year.

“Sa aming pagkakaalam wala siyang koneksyon Gen. Cascolan (As far as we know, Miranda is connected with Cascolan),” Lavin said.

The spokesman cited that it was Cascolan’s brother, Maj. Camilo Cascolan Jr. of the BOC’s Enforcement and Security Service (BOC-ESS), who brought to attention to the NBI the complaint of the customs broker.

“We are calling on the public, yung nabiktima nitong si Louis Miranda (those who have been victimized by MIranda) to come forward and magsumbong dito sa NBI (report his wrongdoings),” Lavin urged.

Meanwhile, Lavin said the NBI has also confiscated Miranda’s mobile phone.

“We are also conducting a forensic examination on his mobile gadget. Tinitingnan namin kung ano pa yung activities nito (We want to find out his other activities),” he said.