MANILA, Philippines—A Zamboanga City deputy prosecutor and a lawyer were arrested on Friday for trying to bribe a police officer with P200,000 to stop him from testifying against another police officer and a suspected drug lord charged with murder and illegal possession of drugs and weapons.
Agents of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) made the arrest after an entrapment operation at the Zamboanga City Hall of Justice on Thursday afternoon.
Zamboanga City Deputy Prosecutor Roselyn Murillo-Mamon and lawyer Pherham Surian Saiddi of the Zambasulta Integrated Bar of the Philippines were caught handing over P200,000 to Police Officer Flavio Enriquez Jr. inside Room 105 of the Zamboanga City Hall of Justice.
Enriquez, who is assigned to the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office 9, had complained to the PAOCC that he was being coerced by the prosecutor to ignore court summons to testify so that charges would be dropped against policeman Pon Mohammad Mansul and the other suspect, Margani Samla alias “Bin Laden.”
Samla is suspected to be the leader of a notorious drug trafficking and gun-for-hire syndicate in Zamboanga City, according to the PAOCC.
Enriquez was seriously injured during a raid on Samla’s lair on Oct. 25, 2011. Samla reportedly lobbed a grenade at the officers and escaped capture.
Last April 26, 2012, another operation against Samla’s gang in Barangay Recodo, Zamboanga City, turned bloody when Samla and seven heavily-armed supporters shot it out with policemen. A member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force, PO2 Roberto Tucay Jr., was killed while then PO2 Enriquez was again injured.
Samla was eventually arrested in another operation. A warrant for his arrest had been issued by the Zamboanga City Regional Trial Court for the murder of two policemen.
The PAOCC said it launched the entrapment against the Zamboanga City deputy prosecutor after some officials of the Department of Justice confirmed having heard of reports of Mamon’s involvement in the questionable dismissal of criminal cases filed against organized crime groups and moneyed suspects in Mindanao.
Saiddi, also arrested during the operation, was the lawyer of Mansul. The two were taken to the NBI regional office in Zamboanga City.
They will reportedly be charged with violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019); the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713); and corruption of public officials.