Scammer posing as NPA leader now targeting traders in Virac

A man who introduces himself as a commander of the New People’s Army is now targeting businessmen in Virac, four months after taking P15,000 cash from a local official.

The Tribune learned last week that since mid-April the scammer contacted several hollow block and aggregate suppliers by cellphone and introduced himself as leader of the communist insurgents and asked for cash donation of P150,000 for one of four M-16 rifles.

He allegedly told the businessmen that the amount had to be deposited by 1 PM that day through Palawan Express, with the money to be sent to its San Andres branch.

Most of those who were called ignored the threat that they would be visited by armed men.

The suspect reportedly uses different names, identifying himself as Cesar Alcantara in the latest incident.

Last week, one of the targets eventually sought the assistance of the Virac police station, where the trader was advised to ask the scammer for more time to get the cash and to give it face-to-face to ensure that it would be delivered to the right person.

Sensing that he was being led into a trap, the scammer refused and told the trader that he (the scammer) hoped he would get proper assistance before cutting off the call.

A businessman who learned of the extortion attempt said it is highly possible that the scammer posed as a customer and visited the target establishments to get the names of the owners as well as their cellphone numbers before making the threats.

It may be recalled that in early April, at least five department heads at the Virac municipal government received threatening calls from a man who said he was Kumander Rigor and asked for P20,000 or five goats.

While most did not believe the caller, one of them was called several times and got frightened enough to send P15,000 through Palawan Express, with the cash reportedly picked up at its San Andres branch by a certain Edwin Gomez.

There are unconfirmed reports that the scammer, who spoke in either mainland Bicol dialect or Tagalog, also contacted doctors at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center.

As of presstime, none of those who were threatened, as well as the LGU executive who gave P15,000, did not formally report the matter to the Virac police, perhaps to avoid the hassle as well as embarrassment.

Just the same, the police asks those who will be the subject of the extort attempts to immediately contact the authorities.

Three or four years ago, someone who identified himself as Kumander Dante also called professionals and businessmen, including the Tribune publisher, to ask for P200,000 for the purchase of Armalite rifles to be used by the communist movement in its protracted war against the government,

They were reportedly threatened to be picked up by armed men right in their homes and brought to the mountain lairs of the rebels.

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