2 ‘fake’ newsmen arrested for extortion in Pangasinan

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Two persons claiming to be media men fell in an entrapment operation conducted by policemen Sunday afternoon when they tried to extort money from two owners of a mini-carnival in Barangay Dulag here.

Arrested while receiving PHP2,000 marked money were Gil Ferrer, 61, who introduced himself as a columnist of tabloid newspaper “Frontier” of Kaypia, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; and Sonny de la Vega, 47, the alleged publisher of “Frontier” newspaper.

Police said the suspects approached Warren Ramire, 40, of Payar, Malasiqui; and Sonny de la Vega, 47, of Barangay Dulag on Sunday to demand for protection money or else they will expose their illegal activities in their newspaper and report this to a high ranking official in Camp Crame.

The two said they have no money to give to the suspects and asked them to just return the next day.

They said not only do they have no money to give to the suspects, they also have no reason to give as the mini-carnival put up during the Barangay Dulag Fiesta was issued with a permit from the barangay council.

Instead, the two reported the matter to the Lingayen Police, which, sent a team along with the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, and set up an entrapment operation for the extortionists.

As the suspects were receiving the marked money, they were suddenly handcuffed by policemen nearby who were secretly monitoring the transaction.

Seized from the suspects were one hand-held camera and four identification cards purportedly issued by their newspaper.

The police learned the suspects had victimized other people running legitimate village carnivals in various parts of the province.

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