By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas on Wednesday lauded the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group following the arrest of two suspects allegedly involved in the illegal solicitation of millions of pesos in campaign contributions for the UniTeam.
Retired Gen. Thompson Lantion, secretary-general of the PFP, stressed the police did a great job in stopping the criminals from taking advantage of the people’s genuine support and love for UniTeam of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara “Inday” Duterte, by asking for huge campaign contributions from unsuspecting victims.
“We commend the leadership of PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos and PNP-CIDG chief Maj. Gen. Albert Ferro for a job well done. We hope that the exploitation of our countrymen, especially the millions of BBM-Sara UniTeam supporters, will stop,” Lantion said.
Ferro identified the arrested suspects as Reynaldo Llorin, 64; and Rolly Balazon, 53, both residents of Omicron Street, RT Gonzales Village, Quezon City.
Two of their cohorts, identified as Isidro Sososco, councilor of Bgy. Aurelio, San Jose, Dinagat Island; and Ma. Buen Bajar Castillo, who is now running for municipal councilor of San Jose, Dinagat Island, managed to escape.
The police official said the suspects were leaders of the Bangon Bagong Maharlika Movement who presented themselves as allies of the BBM-Sara UniTeam, which Lantion denied.
“We do not have a group that is allowed to solicit from our compatriots. So, we call on BBM supporters to be wary of these kinds of modus. Don’t be afraid to report because our authorities will surely catch them,” Lantion added.
The suspects were collared by the elements of the CIDG-National Capital Region led by Police Col. Randy Glenn Silvio in an entrapment operation following complaints from many of their victims.
It was gathered that the main targets of the suspects were independent mayoralty candidates from the provinces, as well as some overseas Filipino workers and private businesses who were willing to support the campaign of Bongbong and Sara.
Their modus operandi was to ask for big sums of money from local bets in exchange for the supposed support of Bongbong and Sara by raising their arms during the sorties in their localities.
That prospect, however, is apparently remote since the tandem has pre-scheduled activities even before embarking on rallies.
On the other hand, the suspects duped OFWs and private businesses by demanding money from them supposedly as additional funding for the campaign of the UniTeam.
According to Ferro, the syndicate targeted only BBM and Sara because they were the leading candidates in the coming elections and have proven to be an inch away from winning the presidency and vice-presidency, respectively.
“BBM-Sara UniTeam is the strongest ticket in the coming election, so they will really be targeted and used by the syndicates to cheat and raise money illegally,” he said.
In a related development, Ferro said they are also checking the suspects’ backgrounds to determine if they were also involved in the reported plan by some groups to assassinate Marcos to stop him from winning the presidency.