PHILIPPINE National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) Director Major General Eliseo DC Cruz on Saturday announced the arrest of a 26-year-old teacher for posing as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and threatening to bomb and kill students in at least 26 Metro Manila (MM) schools and universities if they won’t “heed” his huge extortion demand.
The official, in a report to PNP chief General Dionardo B. Carlos, identified the suspect as Jake Dedumo Castro, a 26-year-old teacher at the Jesus Cares Christian Academy in Las Piñas City residing at KCI, Santos Drive, Vergara Compound in Barangay Zapote.
The suspect is said to have sent the following message to his targets: “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, heres the deal, if you don’t want this terrorist act to happen at your school, you have to pay Two Million Pesos.” (sic).
A 2nd suspect identified as Dexter Gregorio, 42, a tax and legal manager of a private company residing in San Pedro City in Laguna is still being searched as of press time by members of the CIDG National Capital Region Field Unit CIDG-NCRFU) headed by Col. Randy Glenn G. Silvio, said the PNP-CIDG director.
“We have arrested a suspect in an extortion attempt on at least 23 Metro Manila private schools and universities following weeks of surveillance,” said Maj. Gen. Cruz.
According to the official, the suspect was caught in an entrapment operation at 5:50 p.m. Friday conducted 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 Regional Intelligence Division.
Recovered from the suspect’s possession were the P500,000 worth of boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill, five assorted identification cards (IDs), five live 12-gauge shotgun ammunition, a caliber .38 revolver, and a motorcycle.
The CIDG-NCRFU also seized an Android smartphone, and a computer set said to be being used by the suspect to send messages to their target learning facilities.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that the entrapment operation stemmed from the complaint of officials of the Sto. Niño Parochial School in Bago Bantay, Quezon City (QC) received a Gmail (Google Mail) 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.
The message sender said that if the school failed to heed their demand, “they will bomb and blow the school into pieces and shoot people inside without mercy.”
Cruz said that the school principal replied that they could not afford the huge amount of money being demanded by the text sender due to time constraints and could 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 QC school joined the motorcycle rider.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that 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.
“My men have confiscated a computer set believed to have been used by the suspect in sending several emails to his prospective targets,” said the official.
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, the Athen Academy, Inc., and the Gabby Christian Missionary School, Inc. located in Taguig City; the Isidro Catholic School and Pasay Adventist Church Elementary School in Pasay City.
Also, The Montessori de Manila, Southville International School, and Saint Joseph Academy in Las Piñas City; the 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.
The 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; the Meridian International College, Niño Jesus House of Studies, and Victory Christian International School in Pasig City.
The Lourdes School in Mandaluyong City; and the 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 QC.
Maj. Gen. Cruz said that the suspect will be facing criminal charges for violation of Article 294 or robbery and Article 151 or resisting arrest under the Revised Penal Code, PD 177 and Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 in relation to the Omnibus Election Code.
The suspect is now being held at the CIDG-NCRFU lock-up facility in Camp Crame.