DOJ OKs charges vs PRC officialBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the filing of charges
of corruption, direct bribery and solicitation against Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Commissioner Alfredo Po who was caught extorting money from a building owner who had signed a lease contract with the government agency.
In a nine-page inquest resolution, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano approved the recommendation made by prosecution lawyer Cesar Angelo Chavez III that Po be charged with violation of Section 3 (b) of Republic Act 3019, or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act; Section 7 (d) of RA 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees; and Articles 210, 293 and 294 (5) of the Revised Penal Code.
Po was arrested on Dec. 5 in his office at the PRC building in Manila during an entrapment operation set up by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
This was after Ernesto de los Santos, owner of the CTLL Building located at 141 Abanao Ext., Barangay (barangay) Rizal Monument in Baguio City, sought the bureau’s help after Po demanded a monthly commission of P42,800 from him.
Po said he was entitled to the amount since without his intercession, the PRC would not have rented De los Santos’ building as its satellite office, De los Santos had claimed.
On top of this, Po also demanded a one-time “broker’s commission” of P394,000, he added.
De los Santos said that out of fear of reprisal, he gave Po P84,000 or two months’ worth of commissions.
At the time of his arrest, Po was supposed to get the broker’s commission he had demanded from the building owner. The money was found on top of his desk in his office.
Earlier, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that she had received numerous complaints about Po who, she added, had been linked to board leakages.