2 swindlers posing as PRRD kin, Palace execs nabbed

MANILA Two men who were arrested in separate incidents for extorting money by claiming to be a relative of the President Rodrigo Duterte and of being Malacanang officials, were presented to media by police officials Wednesday.

Henry B. Halaghay, 63, was arrested by police operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-NCR together with the Philippine Army last March 6, in Barangay Manggahan, Rodriguez, Rizal by virtue of a warrant of arrest for malicious mischief.

Halaghay along with his two cohorts, Antonio Cebrito and Rogem Montesa, yielded firearms, identification cards and a list of government offices.

Cellphone numbers recovered from the three's cellphones were later discovered to be the same numbers reported previously to the CIDG as being used for extortion by a group of unscrupulous individuals who introduced themselves as officials from the Office of the President and Philippine Army, and demanded an amount of PHP50,000 for the Mega Rehabilitation Center project in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

They ask their victims to give grease money for the speedy facilitation of their bids for projects. The suspects will then direct the victims to send the money to the name they will provide through bayad padala centers or through ATM account of a certain Lanie Sumoroy, the house helper of Halaghay.

Likewise presented was Jose Matias Jose Roa Matias II, 57, who was arrested during an entrapment operation in Deva Cruz Resort, Sta. Felomina, San Pablo City, Laguna.

Complainant Ronaldo Gatdula, said Matias introduced himself as a lawyer and claimed to be the founder of the People's Congress and claiming to be a relative of the President.

Gatdula said he was recruited by Matias sometime in May 2017 to become a barangay captain of Panginay, Balagtas, Bulacan through endorsement to the Office of Special Assistant to the President (OSAP) and was invited to attend the People's Congress meeting in Pampanga wherein the suspect enticed the victim for his preferred Brgy. position in exchange for a certain amount of money.

Gatdula paid the amount of PHP75,000.00, but after the payment was made, Matias could not be found.

On March 7 , the victim was contacted again by the suspect asking for an additional PHP5,000 for the processing of his endorsement in MalacaAang and instructed him to bring the money. Having doubts on the promises of Matias and on the fact that the barangay celections will be conducted in May, Gatdula decided to seek the assistance of the CIDG.

The CIDG recovered a brown bag containing some documents and a driver's license bearing the photograph and signature unveiling the true identify of Matias. Also recovered from the suspect were Acknowledgement Receipt of Equipment and Mission Order from the Philippine Army.

Cases for violations of Article 315 (Swindling/Estafa), Article 177 (Usurpation of Authority or Official Function) and Article 155 (Alarm and Scandal) of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) were filed against Matias before the Department of Justice.

Source: Philippine News Agency