The Manila Police District said it had uncovered a syndicate preying on people seeking financial assistance from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), following the arrest of a man who allegedly demanded “commissions” for facilitating such requests at the state lottery agency.
SPO1 James Poso of the MPD’s General Assignment Section identified the suspect as Beinvenido Artano, 34, of Quezon City.
Poso on Friday said Artano was turned over to the MPD by the intelligence security personnel of the PCSO for alleged extortion activities, based on a complaint from a woman who earlier sought help from the agency.
He said the suspect was arrested in an entrapment operation on Wednesday with the help of a PCSO security team and a lawyer.
Artano’s alleged accomplice, identified as Genesis Madrid, a social worker employed by the PCSO, had been placed under preventive suspension after he was named by the complainant as Artano’s contact who received and processed her request.
“The suspects were able to facilitate the release of a hospital guarantee letter worth P100,000 in one day,” Poso said.
Citing PCSO policy, the police officer said the maximum amount of financial assistance extended to a beneficiary is only P75,000 and processing a request for aid usually takes at least a week.
“The victim was given the name of Artano by a friend who had been assisted earlier by the suspect,” the policeman said. Artano, in turn, pointed to Madrid as his contact person in the PCSO.
The complainant said she was spared from the usual procedure of lining up to submit the requirements and simply gave all her documents to Madrid.
She said Artano also promised her “a second guarantee letter” if she could cough up P40,000 as his commission for securing the P100,000 guarantee from the PCSO.
Poso said the complainant decided to report the suspects after Artano warned her that the guarantee letter would be voided if she will not give him his commission.
“The victim said the suspect told her that the letter of guarantee would still be invalidated after being issued if she will not give the money,” the officer added.