CALOOCAN CITY, Dec. 4 (PIA) -- The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today announced that the Philippine National Police - Crime Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) arrested two extortionists involved in swindling and extortion activities against local government officials posing as a senior DILG official in their modus.
DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ano identified the arrested suspects as Natilyn Decipulo, 29 years old, former OFW, and one of her accomplices, Richard Tacto, 45 years old, who used the name of DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya to extort money from unsuspecting mayors and governors. The two were arrested by CIDG operatives in Dagupan City, the other day.
"The long arm of the law finally caught up with them, at gaya nga ng sinabi natin, we will bring these people to justice lalo pa at pangalan ng mga opisyal ng DILG ang kanilang ginagamit sa kanilang modus. Let this serve as a warning to all would-be criminals, we will find you wherever you maybe," Ano said.
A manhunt is currently underway to find the other members of this criminal syndicate named the "Decipulo criminal group."
The DILG Chief said the modus operandi of the Decipulo Group is to introduce themselves as DILG employees working under Usec. Malaya and "solicit" money from local chief executives (LCEs) in exchange allegedly for fixing the pending administrative cases filed against them.
Another modus is the poseur tells the mayor or governor that the DILG will donate cavans of rice to be distributed to their constituents who were affected by recent calamities and in exchange the LCE has to send money for the cargo or delivery expenses of the supposed donation.
In both instances, the victims are asked to deposit the money to a remittance center or to a bank account of their choosing.
Ano said that police investigations later revealed that Decipulo Group are behind at least 20 extortion activities victimizing governors or mayors in Luzon, Visayas, Caraga Region, and BARMM.
He said the PNP CIDG finally caught up with Decipulo when she was arrested during an entrapment operation while claiming the P72,000 that she extorted from Mayor Gerandy B. Danao of the Municipality of Narra, Palawan in a remittance center in the city. This was after Mayor Danao alerted the DILG and the PNP that a certain "Regan Dela Cruz" who said that he was a staff of Undersecretary Malaya extorted money from him.
The arrest of Decipulo was made possible through the joint efforts of PNP-CIDG, both from the PNP National Headquarters and its regional field offices in Pangasinan and Palawan.
Ano congratulated the PNP-CIDG led by PMGen Joel Coronel and PCol Jay Dimaandal of the Anti-Organized Crime Unit, PNP CIDG for the arrest and filing of criminal cases against the suspects. "Congratulations to the PNP-CIDG for a job well done!," he said.
Decipulo is facing charges of Robbery Extortion, Estafa, and violation of E-Commerce Act and was brought to CIDG-Dagupan Sub-Office SATT-2 for proper investigation.
On the other hand, PNP-CIDG Pangasinan Provincial Office Chief PLtCol Jerry Corpuz said that Tacto, also a member of the Decipulo's Group, is cooperating with authorities for the possible arrest of the other suspects.
"Nakikipagtulungan si Tacto sa amin para mabisto lahat ng miembro ng kanilang grupo. We are looking for the other suspects as we speak," Corpuz said.
Meanwhile, Malaya, whose name was used by the said con artists, asked all mayors who were victimized by the Decipulo Group to contact the DILG or the CIDG and likewise file criminal cases against the suspects.
"I personally appeal to the mayors and governors who were victimized by these extortionists to inform us and file cases against them. Nakakalungkot na sa gitna ng pandemya ay nagagawa ng mga kawatan na ito na manloko. Kailangan pagbayaran nila ang kanilang kasalanan sa bayan," Malaya said.
He said the arrest of Decipulo Group is an assurance that the PNP is working the hours and always on its toes but the people and local officials, who have been the latest targets, must also be wary and mindful of such modus.
According to PNP-CIDG, Decipulo's accomplices are still at large and are currently being chased by authorities. "Babala pa din po sa ating mga kababayan at kapwa lingkod-bayan na LCEs, nakakalaya pa din po ang mga kasamahan nitong si Decipulo kaya konting ingat pa din po," said Malaya.
"Baka nagpapalamig lang ang mga iyon at matapos ang ilang buwan ay babalik na naman sa dating gawi. Hopefully, the PNP will have arrested them by that time," he added. (PIA NCR)