SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: Five barangay (village) chairmen here have reported receiving phone calls from unidentified persons demanding money in exchange for their safety.
Police Supt. Bryant Demot, city director, said they are verifying the report but withheld the names of the village chairmen for security reasons.
Demot said the alleged extortionists, claiming to be hired guns, told their victims on separate occasions that they changed their minds after seeing them bond with their respective families.
Instead of killing the village executives, the alleged gunmen decided to ask for money to spare them and their families.
The village executives were reportedly asked to cough up from P10,000 to P60,000.
The suspects allegedly claimed that they need the money to be able to go back to Mindanao.
The targeted officials came from rich barangays of the city’s 59 villages.
Demot urged the public to immediately report similar incidents or any extortion activity to the police.
“They must report immediately to the police any suspected calls asking for any amount of money in exchange for protection or safety. They must not reply, and as much as possible, immediately change their sim card,” he added.
Senior Insp. Maila Alog, city police information officer, said a businesswoman also reported an extortion attempt recently by men claiming to be members of the New People’s Army. She said the trader was asked to give P120,000 for alleged protection of her business.
The suspects told the businesswoman that the money will be utilized for the nationwide campaign against illegal drugs.