CEBU CITY – A 37-year-old man from Cebu who posed as a commander of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested for extorting money from a restaurant owner in Cotabato City last Tuesday.
Authorities identified the suspect as Benigno Table, who identified himself as “Kumander Malik.” Police Staff Sgt. Ronelle Jay Ocariza of the Philippine National Police-Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit-Central Visayas (RACU Region 7) said Junailra Evangelista, the owner of the restaurant, complained that she had been receiving text messages from a man who identified himself as an NPA commander.
The texter threatened to bomb her restaurant if she won’t give him P30,000. Evangelista reported the police when the threats persisted.
Police set up an entrapment operation and the suspect was arrested after he withdrew the amount from a money remittance service in Barangay Capitol Site here.
Ocariza said they were able to intercept the suspect through their counterpart in the Bangsamaro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“Our counterpart from RACU-BAR coordinated with us after they learned that the person behind the extortion attempt is from Cebu,” said Ocariza.
“We are still investigating how the suspect was able to reach the complainant when she is from Cotabato but it was possible that the victim was just selected randomly,” said Ocariza.
Ozariza said further investigation will be made to find out if the man had cohorts after he claimed that he was just instructed by someone to withdraw the money.
Ozariza said such ploy of duping people is common. “The usual victims are businessmen and professionals. We encourage the public to take this kind of illegal activity seriously especially if there are threats involved. Report to the nearest police so that immediate action can be taken,” said Ocariza.