2 suspects arrested after trying to extort P50,000 from Zubiri


Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday said two individuals were arrested after trying to extort P50,000 from him.

Zubiri said that on August 14, he received a series of messages from individuals who introduced themselves as Siquijor Governor Jake Vincent Villa and Board Member Abner Lomongo.

He added the two individuals tried to solicit financial aid for the conduct of a political convention in exchange for their continuous support for him.

The Senate president said he was clueless as to how these individuals were able to get his number but he knew from the start that something was off.

Zubiri found out that it was a bogus request when he verified the financial request through the chief of staff of Senator Nancy Binay who happens to be the spouse of the Siquijor governor.

After this, the Senate president asked for the help of Philippine National Police chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) was tapped to plan and conduct the police entrapment operation.

The suspects were eventually arrested in Castillejos, Zambales.

In a statement, the CIDG identified the suspects as 23-year-old Bryan Reyes Ledesma and 46-year-old Danilo Guillermo Ledesma.

Seized from the suspects were marked and boodle money, mobile phone where the sim card used to transact with the victims was inserted, and the identification cards.

Apart from these, CIDG said it recovered an ARMSCOR caliber .45 pistol with magazine and seven rounds of ammunition, a black sling bag, and another mobile phone.

The police are still looking for two cohorts of the suspects who are still both at large.

The police disclosed that Danilo was previously arrested for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.


Complaints for robbery extortion and usurpation of authority charges were filed against the suspects while an additional complaint for illegal possession of firearms was filed against Ledesma on August 16.

Zubiri then warned those extorting money of jail time should they continue these criminal activities.

"Sa lahat ng masamang loob na handang manloko, magsinungaling, at kahit manakit pa para lang sa pera, 'wag na kayong magtangka mangloko nang ganito dahil siguardong selda rin ang bagsak ninyo,” he said.

"Sa huli mas mabigat ang parusa na kahaharapin n'yo kumpara doon sa dinedemand n'yong pera. 'Wag n'yo na sana itong gawin muli sa ating mga kababayan na inosente," he added.

To further prevent these activities from happening, Zubiri said they will push anew for the passage of the Sim Card Registration Act.

"Bilang senador, itong nangyari sa akin ay isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit patuloy nating sinusulong ang SIM card registration," he said.

"Kung meron tayong sim card registration using government-issued IDs and licenses, definitely matutukoy po natin sino ang mga tumatawag sa atin na mga scammers," he added.

"Itutulak po namin 'yan sa lalong madaling panahon. We in the 19th Congress are going to pass this at the soonest possible time," he went on.

Bills on SIM card registration were filed again in the Senate in the 19th Congress after former President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the measure.—AOL, GMA News