3 cops, ‘asset’ arrested for extortion in Quezon City

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MANILA, Philippines—Three policemen and their “asset” were arrested for trying to extort money from a man they apprehended for alleged public scandal, police said Friday.

Police Officer 1 Ryan Parungo, PO1 Rommel Biag and PO1 Dennis Magda were arrested during an entrapment operation after their alleged asset identified as John Dominic Laudio, who was the first to be arrested, pointed to the tree as his cohorts, said PO3 Jamie De Jesus of the Quezon City Police District’s investigation department.

Investigation showed that the police officers on Wednesday evening arrested Renato Bautista over an unspecified public scandal violation.

In an interview with Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Bautista claimed that he met Renz while he was eating in a fast food restaurant in near Philcoa in Quezon City. Renz allegedly asked him to go a dark and isolated area in the vicinity.

But Renz turned out to be a police asset and the policemen later arrested Bautista, said De Jesus.

De Jesus said the victim was made to board the mobile patrol car, where the policemen checked all his personal belongings. The suspects allegedly asked him to pay P25,000 in exchange for his liberty.

The policemen then brought Bautista to three ATM machines to withdraw money, but were not able to get any cash as the victim’s bank cards were all empty.

“Hence, the suspects took his P600 cash, two ATM cards, two cellphones, a watch and his company ID,” De Jesus said.

The suspects then asked him to just borrow money from his friends and drove him to Victoria Towers where they waited for two hours for a fried to wake up and bail him out.

But De Jesus said Baustista failed to wake up his friend and out of desperation “attempted to borrow money from the guards, but there was none.”

The policemen then left Bautista to the custody of Laudio, who initially introduced himself as PO1 Marlon Panal. The victim was, however, able to convince Laudio to let him go so he could produce the money.

“The victim was given until 12 noon of Thursday to produce the money,” De Jesus said, adding that Laudio called up Bautista around 2 p.m. and demanded that he pay P10,000 in exchange for his personal belongings.

It was at this point that one of Bautista’s friends police about the extortion bid. An entrapment operation was later arranged where Laudio was arrested and admitted his involvement in the crime.

The three policemen were later arrested after receiving marked money in a separate entrapment operation.

Police were looking for Renz, who remains at large, and another still unidentified police officer.

In September 2012, two QCPD policemen were investigated over an extortion attempt against the son of NCRPO chief Director Leonardo Espina.

Espina fired Senior Police Officer 4 Jose Dela Peña Jr. in response to another complaint filed by retired general Celso Castro, who claimed that his son was also a victim of the policeman’s extortion activities.

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