2 extortion suspects busted in downtown Manila
MANILA, Philippines – Two suspected extortionists preying on vendors were arrested in an entrapment operation in Manila last Friday.
In a press conference on Monday, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno identified the arrested suspects as Melanie Dela Cruz, 39 and Marlon Carpio, 19.
Moreno said Dela Cruz and Carpio were arrested after his office received an anonymous complaint that a certain “Lanie” with her supposed cohorts “Zeny” and the “Carol Bakulaw” group were allegedly extorting P500 to P1,000 from vendors in the Recto-Soler area.
“According to this Lanie, they will not be allowed to place their merchandise on the sidewalks if they refuse to pay,” Moreno said.
Operatives of Manila Police District’s Special Mayor’s Reaction Team (MPD-SMART) conducted an entrapment operation which resulted in the arrest of the two suspects along C.M. Recto Avenue corner Jose Abad Santos Street in Binondo.
Dela Cruz, who was presented to members of the media during the press conference, denied knowing a “Carol Bakulaw” and demanding money from the vendors.
“Hindi ko po kilala si Carol. Hindi ko po alam kung bakit ganyan po ‘yung statement. Wala po siyang (Carol) kinalaman sa’kin,” Dela Cruz told reporters.
“Wala po akong sinisingil na kahit magkano, kahit 350,” Dela Cruz added.
The Manila Public Information Office (PIO) said the suspects are facing seven complaints of robbery, extortion and coercion.
Moreno previously warned vendors to be wary if extortionists posing as “organizers” of the city government. /gsg