Highway Patrol Group officer nabbed in Camp Crame for extortion

Highway Patrol Group officer nabbed in Camp Crame for extortion

MANILA — Authorities on Wednesday nabbed a Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) official right inside Camp Crame for alleged extortion.

Col. Romeo Caramat, head of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) identified on Thursday the police officer as Maj. Raul Salle, deputy chief of the Operations Management Division of the PNP-HPG.

Salle was collared in an entrapment operation on Wednesday afternoon after receiving the marked money amounting to PHP412,120 from the complainant Ma. April Oncheta.

Caramat said the entrapment was mapped out based on the complaint of Oncheta who accused Salle of demanding P440,000 from her for the release of her Mitsubishi Adventure.

According to Caramat, the operation stemmed in November last year when Oncheta reported to the HPG that her other car, a Mitsubishi Pajero, was stolen. During that time, it was Salle who received the complaint.

“But according to the victim, the subject officer asked her to pay PHP140,000 in order for them to start the investigation,” said Caramat.

When the complainant said she is unable to give such amount, Salle allegedly encouraged her to borrow from another policeman in the HPG, who lent her PHP70,000.

Oncheta said she left the country to work abroad and remained in touch with Salle. She said she had been sending Salle money to pay her debt to the other policeman but she was informed that Salle did not remit the payment, prompting her to confront Salle through the phone.

Ochenta said Salle admitted to not remitting the payment to his colleague. She said Salle encouraged her to pawn her Mitsubishi Adventure for them to pay the PHP70,000 to which she agreed.

Salle, meanwhile, denied extorting money from Oncheta.

“That is not true. That woman owes me a big sum of money since November, amounting to PHP400,000. I even applied for a loan from the PSSLAI (Public Safety Savings and Loan Association Inc.) just to help her,” the embattled police officer said.

“At the time, she said her passport was lost and she needs to get another one because she is returning to Canada. I felt good since I met her. I don’t know why but I just lent her money,” he added.

Salle said he has copies of money remittance receipts to counter the complainant’s claim. He said it was Oncheta who asked him a favor to help her pawn her vehicle as she will be getting money from Canada.

He said he met Oncheta when she sought for his help while applying for clearance with the HPG and they are in constant communication since then but denied having a relationship with her.

An investigation is still being conducted to determine if there are other victims who fell prey to Salle’s alleged extortion racket and if an HPG civilian employee was in cahoots with the officer.

The suspect is now facing criminal and administrative charges and remains under the custody of IMEG.  Christopher Lloyd Caliwan / PNA – northboundasia.com