‘Ruffy Biazon,’ ‘Ricky Carandang’ nabbed for extortion | Inquirer News
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‘Ruffy Biazon,’ ‘Ricky Carandang’ nabbed for extortion

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 03:43 AM December 31, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—Manila policemen arrested on Thursday a man posing as Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon who had asked for cash donations for victims of Tropical Storm “Sendong” in Mindanao.

In a phone interview, the real Biazon said the suspect, Vimby Abella, was arrested at around 4:30 p.m. shortly while trying to withdraw cash from a money transfer station on Pedro Gil Street in Ermita, Manila.

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Biazon said the suspect, who pretended to be him, called up a customs collector in Cagayan de Oro City a few days ago and asked for a list of names of top importers who could donate to the ongoing relief efforts for Sendong victims.

The collector, however, contacted Biazon to verify the call.

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“I told our collector to play along and to give the suspect my number and tell the suspect that I was a petroleum company official,” Biazon told the Inquirer.

Biazon, pretending to be the oil executive, and Abella, pretending to be Biazon, had a conversation wherein Abella asked for P10,000  in cash to be donated to the typhoon victims and to be sent via money transfer.

“I told him I wanted to meet with him but he said he could not do so because he was out of town.  He requested that the money be deposited in his name—Ruffy Biazon—via money transfer,” Biazon recounted.

The commissioner told his impersonator that a partial amount of P3,000 would be deposited. The money was later claimed.

In the meantime, Biazon had contacted the Manila police to report the scam. The commissioner said the impostor called him again on Wednesday and asked for the balance of the donation. Biazon told the suspect he would deposit the amount at the money transfer station.

Abella, allegedly the son of a Pasay City policeman, was arrested when he showed up at the money transfer station to claim the money. He was brought to the Manila police district headquarters and charged with usurpation of public authority and extortion.

According to Biazon, Abella showed a fake press identification card from the Daily Tribune with the name Ruffy Biazon.

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The customs chief said that based on the calls and text messages found on Abella’s mobile phone, the suspect had also pretended to be Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez and tried to extort cash, also for Sendong victims, from a hotel executive in southern Metro Manila.

Biazon said he believed Abella was the same person who called him last month pretending to be Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office head Ricky Carandang and who told him (Biazon) to order one of the deputy customs commissioners to call him (suspect).

The caller later phoned a collector to demand money for Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. The extortion did not happen because by that time, Biazon had alerted customs officials to the impostor.

Biazon said someone pretending to be him had also called Duty Free Philippines asking for a P20,000 donation for the BOC’s “team building” seminar.

He called on other victims of Abella to come forward and file a complaint.  With a report from Norman Bordadora

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TAGS: con artist, extortionist, impostor, suspect Vimby Abella, victim Customs Commissioner Rozzano Rufino “Ruffy” Biazon, victim Ricky Carandang
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