Cop nabbed for extortion in Pangasinan

MANILA – A police officer assigned at the Police Regional Office (PRO) 1 (Ilocos Region) was arrested for extortion in Pangasinan, the anti-scalawag unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday.

In a media statement, Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) chief, Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee said M/Sgt. Aurelio Pine, a member of the PRO 1 Regional Drug Enforcement Unit (RDEU), was arrested in an entrapment inside a hardware store in Barangay Pugaro in Balungao town on Thursday morning.

Lee said the operation was launched following a series of validation of complaints and intelligence reports regarding the extortion activities of Pine by joint teams of the IMEG Luzon Field Unit, PRO 1 Intelligence Division, and the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office.

Lee said the suspect was caught receiving PHP100,000 worth of boodle money topped by two marked PHP1,000 bills from the complainant.

He said they placed the suspect under surveillance after the owner of the hardware store Ricky Sanchez sought their help in apprehending the cop.

It turned out that the suspect contacted Sanchez and informed him that his name is included in the PRO1 list of known members of gun-for-hire and drug trafficking syndicates targeted for neutralization.

During their conversation, Pine told Sanchez he could remove his name on the list in exchange for PHP100,000.

"It turned out that the suspect was just using the scheme to mulct money from unsuspecting civilians in the region. We are now investigating if he had also victimized several other people in the region before he was arrested," Lee said.

Lee said the suspect yielded a PNP-issued Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol and a caliber .45 pistol with an expired license during his arrest.

The suspect is now under the custody of the PNP-IMEG was already disarmed and charged criminally and administratively.

Lee called on the public to report any uniformed and non-uniformed personnel involved in illegal activities to the PNP-IMEG hotlines: SMART -- 0998-970-2286 or GLOBE -- 0995-795-2569. Information may also be forwarded to the agency's Facebook page, Integrity Monitoring, and Enforcement Group.

Lee said information may also be forwarded to Facebook Page: Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group and Twitter account: @imeg2017. He assured the public that the identities of the informant will be kept in utmost secrecy. (PNA)

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