3 suspects posing as senator”s staff arrested for extortion

Three suspects allegedly posing as Senate staff members to extort money were arrested in two separate entrapment operations, according to John Consulta’s report on “BaliTanghali” Wednesday. 

Operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division (NBI-AOTCD) apprehended suspects Ryan Lester Lino or “Luis David Tan”, Tina Hoson, and Ma. Luisa Barlan.

Lino was found carrying a fake identification card indicating he was working under the Office of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

“Nagsimula ito noong ‘yung mga staff ni Senator Gatchalian at may ni-refer sila na complainant kasi nalaman nila may nanghihingi ng pera. Ginagamit ‘yung opisina nila,” said NBI-AOTCD Chief Jerome Bomediano.

(The investigation started after the staff of Senator Gatchalian referred a complainant who alleged someone asked him to pay bribe money.)

According to victim “Jhun”, the suspects asked him to pay P500,000 in exchange for a landfill supply contract for a reclamation project in Pasay City. 

“‘Yung ibibigay niyo po na pera, na-iadvance ninyo po as lock-in, naka-notarize na po ‘yun. ‘Magkano po ‘yung project?’ sabi ko sa kanila. P800 million. Bakit naging P800 million? ‘Yung P400 million daw po para sa boulders at P400 million is… Itatambak po diyan sa Pasay,” the victim said. 

(They said the money I will give in advance will secure the contract. I asked them how much the project cost. They said it was P800 million, of which, P400 million is for boulders and P400 million is for the materials to be used for the reclamation project.)

Another victim, Modesto Gubaton, came forward and said the suspects allegedly asked him to pay P700,000. 

“Itong dalawa na nakausap namin, si Carlo Africa-Maderazo and pakilala niya sa amin as per his ID from the Commission on Appointments, Luis David Tan, under the office of Senator Gatchalian. Siya ‘yun. Di ako maaaring magkamali,” Gubaton said. 

(We talked to the two of them. He identified himself as a “Luis David Tan” under the Office of Senator Gatchalian. I am sure that’s him.)

Lino admitted he was not a staff of Gatchalian. He also said he only complied with an order. 

“Hindi po. Pina-rider lang po sakin ‘yan. Nautusan lang po ako. Ininsist po ‘yung pera. Hindi ko naman po talaga kinuha,” he told investigators. 

(I am not his staff. The ID was just delivered to me. I only complied with an order. They insisted on the money. I didn’t even accept it.)

Barlan denied the accusations against her, saying: “Hindi po totoo ‘yung binibintang sa amin. ‘Yung totoo po, kami po ay nasa ibang lugar”.

(The accusations against us are not true. I wasn’t even there.)

Hoson declined to comment. 

Gatchalian, for his part, denounced the incident. 

“I strongly denounce the fraudulent actions of Ryan Lester Dino, alias David Luis Tan, Carlo Africa Maderazo, and three others who falsely asserted their affiliation with me while engaging in criminal activities,” the senator said. 

“Again, let me be crystal clear: I will vehemently oppose any wrongdoing within or outside my office, and I will never authorize any individual to transact on behalf of my office,” he added.

Meanwhile, several fraudulent documents were also recovered from the suspects including a contract supposedly signed by Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano.

“Wala kaming pinirmahan na ganitong klaseng dokumento,” said Calixto-Rubiano.

(We did not sign such documents.)

“Nagtataka nga ako bakit kung tungkol sa reclamation area, bakit kailangan pumirma ng head ng DSWD. Makikipag-tulungan po ang LGU dahil ayaw na ayaw ko po na i-involve ang LGU kung talagang di naman po totoo,” she added.

(If this is a document related to the reclamation project then why is there a signature of the DSWD head? The local government will coordinate with the NBI in the investigation. I don’t want the LGU to be involved, especially if the allegations are not true.) —RF, GMA Integrated News

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