Extortion’s head surfaces in threats vs Cebu lawyers
CEBU CITY—A Cebu-based human rights lawyer may have stumbled upon an extortion racket targeting lawyers involving threats to the lawyers’ lives.
Lawyer Magdalena Lepiten said a certain Bobby, who claimed being from Davao, called her at 9:39 a.m. on Tuesday (Sept 3) to tell her that she was on a kill list.
“Si Bobby ni, taga Davao. naa kay time makig istorya? (This is Bobby of Davao. Do you have a time to talk to me?),” the caller told Lepiten.
“Naa ka sa listahan sa nga among ipa tumba. Naa koy mga tawo sa Cebu. (You’re on the list of those we wanted to kill. I have people in Cebu).
Lepiten said she did not entertain the caller and instead turned off her phone.
Moments later, she said she received a text message from the same caller with contact number 09971779161.
The message read: “E trace ug gusto ka.. lantawun ta. (Trace me if you can. Let us see).”
“Ma swerte lang c dela cerna. ekaw ug dli ka makig coperate mamatay ka. 100K kapalit sa imung kinabuhe.” (Dela Cerna was fortunate to have survived. If you won’t cooperate, you will die. P100K in exchange for your life).”
Lepiten said he wanted to know if other lawyers received a similar threat.
“I want to crowdsource. This could be a scam (to demand money from us),” she told the Inquirer.
Last Monday (Sept 2), another lawyer, Inocencio De La Cerna Jr. survived an ambush on a busy street here.
De La Cerna just came from a hearing at the Cebu City Hall of Justice around 9:15 a.m. and was aboard his heavily-tinted Toyota Land Cruiser when two motorcycle-riding men overtook his vehicle along Cebu’s Port Service Road.
Moments later, one of the men pulled a pistol, opened fire, and sped away.
De la Cerna was unscathed. He immediately drove his vehicle, but the assailants, both of whom were wearing full-faced helmets, waited for him at a corner where they again fired at the lawyer’s car.
“I disembarked at another corner where I managed to fire back using my gun,” said Dela Cerna in an interview over local radio dyLA.
De la Cerna, however, was not able to hit any of the assailants as he had been wounded in the hand, affecting his aim.
Wanting to save his life, De la Cerna ran to the nearby Waterfront Police Station to ask for help.
Chief MSgt Ruth Bongo, investigator of the Waterfront Police Station, said De la Cerna’s vehicle had at least 11 bullet holes.
“It seems that the suspects really had the intention to kill him,” she said./TSB
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.