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2 maritime police nabbed for extortion in Masbate

July 13, 2020 - Monday 10:07 AM by PNA

Article Banner Image The suspects were arrested after receiving the P200,000 they demanded from the operator of a fishing vessel impounded for alleged involvement in illegal fishing activities in the area. PHOTOS COURTESY OF PNP-IMEG

MANILA – Two police officers were nabbed for robbery-extortion in Masbate City, an official of the anti-scalawag unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday.

Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (PNP-IMEG) chief, identified the suspects as Maj. John Murray Cutaran, chief of the 502nd Maritime Police Station based in Masbate City, and SSgt. Rommel Naval.

The two were apprehended in an entrapment operation inside their office located at Pier Site in Barangay Bapor, Masbate City at about 8:25 a.m. Sunday.

The suspects were arrested shortly after they received the PHP200,000 they demanded from the operator of a fishing vessel impounded for alleged involvement in illegal fishing activities in the area.

Investigation showed that the maritime policemen intercepted F/B RAV and arrested its skipper Juquin Nemeno and his 28 crew members.

They later contacted the fishing boat owner based in Bantayan Island in Cebu province and initially demanded PHP400,000 in exchange for the release of his fishing vessel and employees.

Lee said the fishing boat operator sought their help to arrest the erring policemen and travelled all the way from Bantayan Island to Masbate City on board another boat while accompanied by undercover police officers.

The suspects, who were brought to the Masbate Provincial Police Office, are facing criminal and administrative charges.

"We are encouraging the owners and operators of the fishing vessels who are victims of extortion in the entire country to report to PNP-IMEG." Lee said.

Two other suspects, identified as Lt. Melencio Huela and SSgt. Ronald Puerto, remain at large.

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.  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

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