2 Iloilo cops being probed for extortion on Pakistani

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ILOILO CITY—Two police intelligence officers in Iloilo City are being investigated for allegedly illegally detaining and extorting P250,000 from a Pakistani businessman.

Businessman Tahir Nawaz Akhunzadah has filed extortion, grave threats and serious illegal detention complaints against Police Officer 1 James Olvido and Police Officer 2 Rex Gabawa at the Iloilo City Prosecutor’s Office.

Akhunzadah’s lawyer, Romeo Gerochi, said the policemen detained his client for more than an hour on Nov. 28 and accused him of molesting Olvido’s wife. The businessman and Olvido are neighbors at Province Subdivision in Pavia town in Iloilo.

Gerochi said the policemen threatened to sue the Pakistani for acts of lasciviousness unless the Pakistani gave P250,000 to the policemen.

Reduced amount

Akhunzadah, whose family operates pharmaceutical and tobacco export businesses, initially refused but later agreed to give P200,000.

The policemen, assigned to the Iloilo City Police Office, allegedly drove the businessman using his car to the Mandurriao District, where the money being demanded by the policemen was delivered by an employee of the Pakistani businessman.

Gerochi said Olvido came to his office and tried to explain that it was the businessman who offered the money. The policeman turned over P150,000 to Gerochi.

“He (Olvido) said he already spent the P50,000,” Gerochi told the Inquirer.

Senior Supt. Marietto Valerio, Iloilo City police chief, said the two policemen were disarmed and charged with an administrative case.

Cops’ story

Valerio said Gabawa is under suspension for another administrative case. He said the policemen claimed it was the businessman who offered the money.

Valerio said he is leaving it up to investigators and prosecutors to determine the guilt or innocence of the policemen.

“But the fact that they accepted the money is already a violation,” Valerio told the Inquirer.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iloilo (CCII), of which Akhunzadah is a member, has urged the Philippine National Police to investigate the case and ensure that there is no “whitewash.”

“While this is the first reported case of this kind in Iloilo, we are concerned that this might send the wrong signal to businessmen who want to invest here,” Joemarie Agriam, CCII president, told the Inquirer.

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