CRIMINAL charges have been filed by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) against a 26-year-old teacher arrested for posing as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and threatening to bomb and kill students in at least 140 Metro Manila schools and universities if they won’t heed his huge extortion demand this month.
A report to PNP-CIDG director, Major General Eliseo DC Cruz said a Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutor found probable cause to indict suspect Jake Dedumo Castro for violation of Article 294 or robbery under the Revised Penal Code in relation to Section 6 of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
However, CIDG-National Capital Region Field Unit chief, Colonel Randy Glenn G. Silvio said that DOJ Prosecutor Norman Torneros dismissed the cases for violation of RA 10175 and Presidential Decree 1727 which declared as unlawful the malicious dissemination of false information or the willful making of any threat concerning bombs, explosives or any similar device or means of destruction filed against one Dexter Gregorio who was initially implicated by Castro in his criminal activities.
According to Silvio, the suspect executed an extra-judicial confession in which he admitted his direct participation in the commission of robbery-extortion and giving a false bomb threat against the Sto Niño Parochial School in Quezon City.
The official added the suspect also admitted having sent similarly threatening messages to at least 140 schools in the metropolis.
According to Col. Silvio, the suspect confessed that he only made up the charges against the 42-year-old Gregorio due to a personal grudge. “In the absence of material and leading evidence to establish participation, Gregorio is being excluded and cleared from the instant investigation as it turned out that Castro has the ability to act and craft such modus operandi on his own,” the official said.
The suspect was found to be the same person who sent the ‘bomb and kill threats’ to at least 140 learning institutions in Metro Manila in just two days.
“Kung di magbibigay ang mga schools na ito, pasasabugin daw nya yung eskwelahan at merong mga mamamaril na mga suspects dito,” said Maj. Gen. Cruz.
PNP-CIDG investigators discovered that part of the suspect’s e-mails were instructions directing his targets to take a video of the money being prepared. The victims were then instructed to put the money inside a box and mail it to a provided address.
“Kaya malaki yung chance na may magco-comply, may matatakot para i-deliver yung ganong gusto nila,” said Col. Silvio.
The breakthrough in the investigation of the threatening messages came when a school principal sought the help of the PNP-CIDG and undercover officers pretended to be members of the school staff to catch the suspect on the spot.
“Gusto ko lang humingi ng tawad sa mga schools na nasendan po ng email. Di ko nga rin po alam eh. Di ko rin po alam paano nagsimula itong naisip ko,” the suspect said in his detention cell.
The PNP-CIDG reported to PNP chief, General Dionardo B. Carlos that Castro, a teacher at the Jesus Cares Christian Academy in Las Piñas City and a resident of 153 KCI, Santos Drive, Vergara Compound in Barangay Zapote claimed to be connected with the NPA to extort money from his targets.
The suspect sent the following message to his target schools: “We are the specialty tactics faction of the New People’s Army, we been closely monitoring your school for a long time and we have seen that we can easily bomb and blow it into pieces if we want and kill whoever is inside your school, Now, here’s the deal, if you don’t want this terrorist act to happen at your school, you have to pay Two Million Pesos.” (sic).
According to Maj. Gen. Cruz, the suspect was caught in an entrapment operation 5:50 p.m. last April 22 by members of the CIDG-NCRFU with the assistance of officers from the CIDG Southern Metro Manila District Field Unit, the Manila and Southern, Quezon City and Manila Police Districts and the National Capital Region Police Office’s (NCRPO) Regional Intelligence Division.
Recovered from the suspect were the P500,000 worth of boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill, five identification cards, five live 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, a caliber .38 revolver and motorcycle.
The CIDG-NCRFU also seized an android phone and a computer set found to have been sed by the suspect to send messages to their target learning facilities.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said the entrapment operation stemmed from the complaint of officials of the Sto. Niño Parochial School in Bago Bantay, Q.C. that they received a gmail message last April 19 from a group claiming to be members of the Special Tactics Faction of the NPA and demanding P2 million from them.
Cruz said the school principal replied that they cannot afford the huge amount of money being demanded by the text sender due to time constraint and can only raise P500,000. The offer greatly convinced the suspect that he agreed to accept the money.
Acting on the information, CIDG-NCRFU officers conducted the entrapment operation with the help of a courier service employee.
A CIDG-NCRFU agent who posed as a staff of the Q.C. school joined the motorcycle rider.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said the suspect asked the messenger to deliver the money at the covered court of Santos Village III in Bgy. Zapote. After reaching the site, the driver was instructed by the suspect to proceed to his residence where he was arrested after receiving the marked money.
The CIDG-NCRFU investigation showed that the 23 schools received messages from the email address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among the schools which received the same extortion demand from the suspect were the Chinese International School, Athen Academy, Inc. and Gabby Christian Missionary School, Inc. located in Taguig City; Isidro Catholic School and Pasay Adventist Church Elementary School in Pasay City;
Montessori de Manila, Southville International School and Saint Joseph Academy in Las Piñas City; Ann Arbor Montessori Learning Center, Pennington of Sucat Evangelical Christian Academy, Academia de San Miguel Arkanghel, Great Christian Academy, Nord Angela International School, Saint Paul College, Blessed Adheleid, Eurocampos European International School and The Lycee Francais de Manille in Parañaque City;
Maria Montessori Foundation of Alabang, Saint Bernadette College of Alabang and South Mansfield College in Muntinlupa City; Knights of the World Christian Academy in Makati City; Meridian International College, Niño Jesus House of Studies and Victory Christian International School in Pasig City;
Lourdes School in Mandaluyong City; Colegio de San Bartolome de Novaliches, Achievers Academy of Quezon City, Capital Hills Christian School Inc., Coronado School of Quezon City, Saint Anthony Academy and Maria Montessori Schol of Quezon City, all located in Q.C.