8 ‘LTO men’ face charges for extortion
ZAMBOANGA CITY—Police have filed charges in court against a Land Transportation Office (LTO) team leader and seven of his men who were caught in the act of extorting money from motorists in Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte.
Senior Supt. Reynaldo Maclang, Dipolog police chief, identified them as Fahad Gagil, 50, team leader of an LTO squad; Marcelo Tumaclas, 51, his assistant; and Romeo Villacampo, Sa-anodin Gunting, Roland dela Cruz, Alberto Orillan, Romil Andalahao and Cardawie Macapanton.
They were caught in a police entrapment operation on May 2 following complaints that Gagil’s group had been extorting money from motorists passing through the highway in Barangay Estaka in Dipolog, Maclang said.
He said the complainants had reported that the group had been asking for P500 from each motorist they flagged down for supposed violation of transportation laws.
“The team headed by Insp. Mendel Sales Casao was able to catch Gagil’s group red-handed. The operation was videotaped,” Maclang said.
Aminola Abaton, LTO director for Western Mindanao, disowned seven of the suspects, saying they were not real LTO personnel. “There is only one LTO personnel among the eight arrested men, and that is Fahad Gagil,” he said.
But Maclang said the suspects carried LTO identification cards.
Abaton described Gagil as a contractual employee assigned to the law enforcement team of the LTO District Office in Dipolog.
The rest, he said, “are bogus LTO personnel and I have instructed my investigating team to study what charges may be instituted by our office against them.”
Abaton said Gagil would also face administrative and criminal sanctions.