Group caught printing money in Binondo hotel; Erap sees link to vote-buying
Four people were caught in the act of printing fake peso bills inside a hotel room in Binondo Tuesday night, according to the Manila Police District (MPD).
It was the second MPD operation to arrest suspected counterfeiters in a span of one week, prompting Mayor Joseph Estrada to order a crackdown on such syndicates which may be used by politicians to buy votes in next year’s elections.
“We are declaring an all-out [war] against this. This is our priority aside from [illegal] drugs because they are being used for the coming elections. That’s what we suspect,” the mayor said after the suspects were presented to him.
The police seized 87 pieces of fake P1,000 notes, a laptop, printer and several ink cartridges from the group composed of brothers Ernani and Edwin Cabaling, the latter’s girlfriend Nina Perez and Joel Celo.
The suspects also yielded a sachet of suspected “shabu” and drug paraphernalia, according to Supt. Romeo Macapaz, chief of MPD Station 11 in Binondo.
On Thursday last week, another alleged counterfeiter, Radiya Latugan, was arrested while selling fake banknotes in Plaza Binondo.
In an interview, Ernani admitted that his group had used fake money to make purchases. “That way, we get real money when we’re given the change (sukli).”
But he denied that they were printing “play money” for politicians planning to buy votes.
He said they started printing fake peso bills two years ago after failing to find jobs that would support their families. “We’ve been arrested several times in the past and we have always bought our way out,” Ernani said.
Macapaz said he would check Ernani’s claims, but maintained that this was the first time the group was arrested as far as his station was concerned.
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