The army and police have warned public officials and businessmen against the extortionists who usually operate in election season, the coming one signaled by the start of the candidacy filing just months away
Even those in other sectors who may have been known for their wealth or generosity have been advised to heed to the warning and report to proper authorities any suspicious acts, including namedropping to solicit big amount.
The warning was separately sounded to the mayors in a rehabilitation update meeting called by Gov. Edgar Chatto at the Governorâ€™s Mansion on Wednesday and during the Independence Day rite at the military camp in San Vicente, Trinidad on Friday.
The governor also attended the camp ceremony which was led by Lt. Col. Potenciano Camba of the 802nd Infantry Brigade and Col. Julius Tomines and Col. Arnulfo Matanguihan of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion.
Just recently, the governor was himself namedropped in fake solicitation try by a group with Mindanao and Bohol contacts who used his name and almost victimized a city resort businesswoman.
Matanguihan cited the same modus operandi as reported to him by officials of some municipalities and barangays.
He was almost sure in telling the mayors that whoever are not familiar or unknown to them and yet asking money are extortionists, notably if the latter solicit by phone.
Government officials who are politicians, especially those up for reelection, are perceived to be vulnerable to fake solicitations and other money-making rackets disguised as social benefit projects or legitimate concerns.
COP NOT SPARED
Police Supt. Nic Olaivar shared that there was once an attempt to extort him, his personal experience suggesting that even the officers in uniform can be potential victims.
The suspect would even agree to a lower amount just to get money, Olaivar said.
Chatto advised everyone not be harassed by these fake solicitors, who mostly could also talk sweet.
Municipal officials should not tolerate such an illegal act since the extortionists spend their solicited money for more criminal works, further warned the military and police.
DID FALL TO TRAP
Matanguihan revealed that the armyâ€™s intelligence unit was able to monitor certain officials who gave in to the extortion.
The persons who picked up the solicited money being sent thru a money transfer agency were traced to be in Davao, he said.
This would have likewise been the case of the Tagbilaran businesswoman who would have sent P20,000 by money transfer to the solicitor, who used the governorâ€™s name for a supposed project benefiting the senior citizens.
The origin of the cellphone contacts from the suspect were traced in Davao.
But the businesswoman was suspicious and so she called a friend having a mobile phone number of the governor to verify from him.
The money-making racket is now under Camp Dagohoy investigation and the hand of the law reaching as far as Davao.
The extortion syndicate has partners in Bohol who are able to â€œmake things feel realâ€ to the victims,â€ according to the military and police.
So it is better not to be hooked in continuing conversation with them even on phone and to report the calls and demands to the police or army for proper action, Matanguihan said.
Some would accordingly even pretend to be runners of the rebels obviously to create an â€œelement of threatâ€ for easy extortion.
But this is dangerous, according to both the army and police, because it could falsely imply that the rebels are regaining grounds.
Olaivar advised the mayors not to engage in talking and negotiating with the extortionists because they are very clever and it is too late to realize having already fallen to their trap. (Ven rebo Arigo)