Ex-colonels, civilians, groups under probe for extortion
Authorities are again warning the public against individuals and groups claiming to have links with the AFP and other government agencies, who come up with various schemes to be able to extort money.
The advisory was issued yesterday as two retired military colonels are currently under investigation over alleged extortion victimizing local officials and civilians in Negros and Cebu.
The retired colonels, whose identities are temporarily being withheld by authorities, are reportedly in cohorts with some civilians “and possibly behind groups claiming to have links with the military and other government agencies.”
“The two are allegedly part of a group that is soliciting funds for soldiers and veterans, among others, but would resort to blackmail to force their victims to give in to their demands. Isa sa modus operandi nila ay pagpapadala ng solicitation letter or pagbebenta ng ticket sabay sabi na may nalalamang anomalya o sikreto na ibubunyag nila,” said Colonel Edgard Arevalo, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief.
Arevalo said the two colonels, with their cohorts, are under investigation by the military following the complaint of some 20 residents of Negros Oriental and Cebu.
“The investigation has already resulted in the filing of syndicated estafa and robbery extortion complaints against eight civilians,” he said.
Arevalo said the military will not tolerate illegal actions from soldiers.
“Ito ay dapat magsilbing babala sa inyo,” he said. “Hindi po namin hahayaan lalo na sa Armed Forces of the Philippines na gawin ninyo ito sa amin sapagkat dinudungisan ninyo ang magandang pangalan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.
HUNDREDS OF GROUPS, TOO.
Aside from the two colonels, the AFP is also investigating over 700 organizations and corporations linked to veteran and military affairs to determine if they are legitimate.
In Bacolod City, an investigative body also revealed to Negros Daily Bulletin (NDB) yesterday that, investigations also include organizations supposedly formed to help government offices and civilians on certain concerns, with many of the groups claiming to have links with higher headquarters, national government offices and even in Malacanang.
The investigating group, asking anonymity is encouraging victims of former soldiers or policemen in Negros, Panay and Cebu “to report immediately their concerns for prompt action.”
Anyone who wants to tip the military on such illegal activities are advised to call the AFP hotline number 02-926-52-42.* (Arman Toga, with report from GMA News’ Jun Veneracion)