PHILIPPINE National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar yesterday announced the arrest of five men led by a police corporal for involvement in extortion targeting truck and delivery van drivers in Pampanga.
The top cop identified the arrested suspects as Cpl. Leomar Calegan, 37; Marlon de Guzman, 39; Menard Mendoza, 32; Michael Maniulit, 50; and Noel Manarang, 23, all members of the Truck Ban Traffic Management Office of the Apalit Municipal Hall.
According to Eleazar, members of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group under Brig. Gen. Thomas Frias Jr. arrested the five suspects in an entrapment operation at 12:30 a.m. on Friday in front of the Caltex gasoline station on Quezon Road in McArthur Highway Intersection in Apalit.
Members of the IMEG Luzon Field Unit launched the sting amid complaints regarding the extortion activities of the accused sent to the Presidential Hotline 8888 last May 21, the PNP chief said.
The accused were said to be demanding money from drivers of cargo trucks passing by their checkpoint area in exchange for their unhampered travel.
During the entrapment, the policeman was placed under arrest shortly after he received two marked P500 bills from an undercover officer who posed as a porter of a delivery truck.
Recovered during the operation were the marked bills and the identification cards of the civilian traffic enforcers.
The policeman was also stripped of his PNP-issued Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol with two magazines containing 15 live ammunition.
The accused policeman, a resident of San Fernando City, Pampanga was also found in possession of P804,170 in different denominations.
All suspects are undergoing investigation at the IMEG Luzon Field Office. They will be facing charges for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical standard for Government Employees and robbery-extortion.
Cpl. Calegan will also be facing an administrative case for grave misconduct.
The PNP-IMEG has called on the public to report the presence of any rogue policemen and other government workers to their hotline numbers: 09989702286 (Smart) and 09957952569 (Globe) with the promise that all complaints will be investigated thoroughly.
Information may also be forwarded to the Facebook Page: Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and Twitter account: @imeg2017. Frias assured the public that the identities of the informants will be kept in utmost secrecy.