NBI warns against proliferation of cybercrimes amid ECQ

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020   •   799

MANILA, Philippines – Scammers are increasingly active these days especially with everyone practically living in cyberspace due to lockdowns in different parts of the world.

In the Philippines, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has warned the public of the rise in cybercrime as the national government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) limits movement outside of residence.

With almost all services migrating online, scammers are taking advantage of online platforms to pursue their schemes.

Such is the problem of Jodel Merjudio who operates an online travel agency.

Merjudio reported to UNTV’s Serbisyong Bayanihan that some scammers created an impostor account of his enterprise’s Facebook page.

It only came to his knowledge when one of his clients told him about an alleged representative of his travel agency who transacted and asked money from that client on his behalf.

Part of the scammer’s modus operandi is to block the clueless victims from its fake page once payment is received.

The victims are then led to Merjudio’s official page to follow up on transactions that the latter had no knowledge of.

“Ang nangyayari, iyong kliyente pag nag-search sila sa Facebook, dalawa ang lalabas na agency. So kami ang nako-contact nila kasi naka-block na sila doon sa scammer page,” Merjudio said.

Jodel said he initially reported the incident to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 4A Cybercrime Division.

To assist Jodel, Kuya Daniel Razon contacted Atty.Victor Lorenzo of the NBI’s Cybercrime Division who agreed with Jodel’s initial move of reporting the incident to proper authorities.

The official promised to help Jodel in identifying the perpetrators behind the impostor account and to eventually resolve the case.

“Kunin nila ang mga contact details [ng kliyente] at kung makipag-ugnayan sila sa amin ay iyon kasi ang hihingiin namin (Get the contact details [of the client] so when you come to us, those are the details that we would be asking],” Lorenzo said.

Kokontakin namin sila para malaman kung ano ba ang mode of payment? Paano ang money ay transmitted? Bank to bank? Kasi ang best lead natin kung sino ang nag-create ng fake account ng travel agency (We will ask them what the mode of payment was; how the money was transmitted; and was it bank to bank? Our best lead would be the creator of the travel agency’s fake account),” he added.

Atty. Lorenzo said incidents of online travel agency scams have already dwindled for some time but since the country is under lockdown, scammers have again started to become active online. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

NBI recommends filing of raps vs Jolo cops involved in killing of soldiers

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday recommended to the Department of Justice (DOJ) the filing of complaints against police officers involved in the killing of four soldiers in Jolo, Sulu in late June.

In its report to the DOJ, the NBI recommended the filing of four counts of murder and planting of evidence against the following cops:

  • PSMS Abdelzhimar Padjiri
  • Police Master Sergeant Hanie Baddiri
  • P/Staff Sergeant Iskandar Susulan
  • PSSg Erniskar Sappal
  • PCorporal Sulki Andaki
  • Patrolman Mohammad Nur Pasani
  • PSSg Almudzrin Hadjaruddin
  • Patrolman Alkajal Mandangan
  • Patrolman Rajiv Putalan

The NBI also recommended the filing of neglect of duty charges against three police officials:

  • Sulu Provincial Police director P/Colonel Michael Bayawan Jr.
  • Jolo Municipal Police Station chief P/Major Water Annayo
  • Sulu Provincial Drug Enforcement Unit chief P/Captain Ariel Corcino

The shooting incident happened on June 29. Four soldiers were said to be tailing alleged suicide bombers when they were supposedly accosted by nine cops.

Despite identifying themselves as members of the military, they were instructed by the policemen to proceed to the police station for the verification of their identities.

Police spot report stated that the shooting incident transpired when the soldiers allegedly tried to escape and pointed their weapons at the police officers, which allegedly prompted the cops to open fire.

The NBI was tasked to investigate the incident as both agreed by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The DOJ said the complaints will be elevated to the court once it has found a probable cause. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

Catriona Gray asks NBI to track down those behind fake online photos

Robie de Guzman   •   July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray on Tuesday appeared at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to press charges against those who uploaded a digitally-altered and malicious photo of her online.

Gray met with NBI Deputy Director Vicente de Guzman to discuss her complaint.

Gray’s lawyer earlier said a “fake” topless photo of the beauty queen is circulating online and denounced the “vicious attempt to tarnish the good name of Ms. Gray.”

NBI’s Cybercrime division was tasked to handle the investigation. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

NBI probes alleged COVID-19 deaths of high-profile inmates inside Bilibid

Marje Pelayo   •   July 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday (July 20) ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the alleged deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) of at least nine persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) including high-profile inmates at the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

In a statement issued by the DOJ, Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director Gerald Bantag confirmed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in a meeting earlier in the day that a total of 21 PDLs died of COVID-19 since March of this year.

Bantag, however, assured Guevarra that standard protocols are being followed in the event of a death of an inmate from COVID-19 including the mandatory cremation within 12 hours to contain the spread of the virus. 

He also assured that health conditions within the penitentiary are under control and only five PDLs are in isolation at the Bureau’s largest isolation facility, ‘Site Harry.’

There were reports that high-profile inmates have died of COVID-19 and were cremated including drug lord Jaybee Sebastian who is set to testify in the illegal drug case against detained Senator Leila De Lima.

Bantag didn’t reveal details of what transpired in his meeting with Guevarra but he said the Bureau welcomes an independent investigation on the matter. 

DOJ Undersecretary Mark Perete later in the afternoon confirmed that indeed high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastion has died and has been cremated.

Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III filed a resolution seeking to probe the deaths of the PDLs as there are ‘too many unanswered questions’ as regards the case including a report on the autopsy and why the Bureau did not inform the DOJ right away.

Before the day ended, the DOJ issued an authority to the NBI to conduct an investigation on the reported deaths of Sebastian and eight other convicts allegedly of COVID-19 and, “if evidence warrants, to file appropriate charges against all persons involved and found responsible for any unlawful act” in connection with the case.

Reacting to BuCor’s position of not disclosing the names of the concerned high-profile inmates citing privacy issues, Privacy Commissioner Raymond Liboro, on the other hand, stressed that the Data Privacy Act “is not a cloak for denying the public’s right to know.”

He said high-profile inmates like Sebastian had become public figures on account of their previous association with particular national issues in the past.

“There is a justified public interest to release information like details surrounding the deaths from COVID-19 of these high-profile inmates, especially when the personal information being sought is linked to issues already on the minds of the public,” Liboro said.

For its part, Malacañang through Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said it is letting Secretary Guevarra carry out the investigation on the matter. —MNP (with inputs from Dante Amento / Rosalie Coz / Rey Pelayo)

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