From the Philippine News Agency (May 13): Pangasinan police director says no NPA extortion in his area
A Pangasinan police official has disclosed that extortionists -- and not the New People’s Army (NPA) -- could be behind the threatening text messages received by some people and businesses in the province, which he insisted has long been insurgency-free.
Provincial police director, Senior Supt. Ronald Oliver Lee, said the unknown senders of these text messages could be claiming that they are NPA rebels demanding revolutionary taxes, but are no more than plain extortionists.
Lee said they have investigated most of the text messages referred by the recipients to them and they have found out that these were the works of extortionists out to make some fast money from their intended victims.
"These are not actually NPA rebels but just plain extortionists using the name of the NPA," said Lee in a talk to newsmen.
He cited that in one case they investigated, they traced the sender of the text message to Mindanao, too far away from Pangasinan where the recipient lives.
Lee thus called on the public not to panic and not to give in to the demands of the extortionists.
Instead, report the matter to the police so the culprits could be identified and arrested, he said, noting that the senders of these text messages would send couriers to collect the money from the victims or send a particular address where the money could be wired through a local remittance company.
Giving in to their demands would only lead to more demands, he said, stressing that this has to stop.