OPERATIVES of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group on Sunday arrested two members of the PNP Maritime Group who reportedly extorted money from the operator of a fishing vessel they impounded for alleged involvement in illegal fishing activities in Masbate.
Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, PNP-IMEG director, identified the two as Maj. John Murray Cutaran, chief of the 502nd Maritime Police Station based in Masbate City; and Staff Sgt. Rommel Naval.
Lee said Cutaran’s cohorts later identified as Lt. Melencio Huela and Staff Sgt. Ronald Puerto are still at-large.
Lee said Cutaran and Naval were arrested inside their office at Pier Site in Baragay Bapor in Masbate City by combined police operatives after they received P200,000 in exchange for the release of the fishing vessel.
Investigations conducted by the PNP-IMEG showed that the maritime cops intercepted F/B RAV and arrested its skipper identified as Juquin Nemeno and its 28 crew. The cops then contacted the fishing vessel’s owner based in Bantayan Island in Cebu and asked P400,000 for the release of the boat and crew.
After negotiations, the cops agreed to lower their demand to P200,000. Unknown to them, the vessel owner reported the matter to the PNP-IMEG, which in turn planned the entrapment operation.
Lee said the arrested cops were brought to Masbate Police Provincial Office for booking.
Lee called on the public to report abuses of policemen through the PNP-IMEG hotlines (0998) 970-22-86 (Smart), and (0995) 795-25-69 (Globe), adding that information may also be sent to their Facebook page: Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group, and Twitter account: @imeg2017.