An officer of the Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP) was arrested Tuesday afternoon in an entrapment operation for allegedly extorting money from a German yacht owner and his wife.
The officer was identified as Ensign Allison Tindog, said to be the operations officer of the CGDP.
His victims were named as husband and wife Dirk and Jessica Haering.
National Bureau of Investigator (NBI) special investigator III Cedric Caabay said to Palawan News that Tindog was entrapped accepting money from the couple inside his office at the CGDP in the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) compound.
He said the Haerings sought the help of the NBI against Tindog who was extorting money from them for their failure to “log in and log out” with the CGDP.
The process lets the CGDP know when boats are leaving to head out on the water and when they are expected to return.
Caabay said Tindog allegedly started extorting money from the Haerings on January 11, 2019, for P180,000.
But they were able to negotiate with Tindog to lower the amount to P80,000.
After giving the amount, Tindog was said to have issued them a receipt only for P10,000.
“Base sa complainant na foreigner, nag-start ito noong hiningian sila noong January 11 ng P180,000 na natawaran nila ng P80,000. Ang may resibo ay P10,000 lang. Naulit ito kanina, hiningian sila ng P50,000. Bago sila pumunta sa opisina ng Coast Guard ay pumunta sila dito sa ating tanggapan para humingi ng tulong,” Caabay said.
He narrated that after the Haerings handed the money to Tindog inside his office, NBI agents entered his office and announced his arrest for alleged extortion.
Tindog asked for the money to supposedly helped the Haerings “fix” their violation.
“Ang sabi raw sa aming complainant ay hinihingi ang P50,000 para matulungan sila na maayos ang problema nila sa kanilang yate, ‘yon ngang hindi pag-log out sa point of origin at pag-log in sa point of entry which is dito sa Puerto Princesa,” he added.
Caabay said Tindog was cooperative during his arrest after the entrapment.
Aside from extortion, he said Tindog will also be charged for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.
Extortion victim Dirk said they admit that their boat has violated Philippine laws but they thought it had already been fixed when they paid P80,000.
He said after the first time, he had asked to be informed about the log in and log out procedure so they will not conduct the same mistake again.
However, Tindog again asked for P110,000 again sometime February 18 which they negotiated to be lowered to P50,000.
“We have done a mistake we paid money… we have to comply direct what happens and then now, two days ago it happened again and we have a violation again. What he wants to collect is P110,000 and then I told him ‘no, sorry… but we’re only missing a little bit small paper’ and then he said ‘when you pay me P70,000 again then everything will be settled, nothing will be filed,” Dirk said.
Dirk’s yacht brings divers to the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP) that he is also helping protect because of his business, he said.
He said he was scared to go to the NBI to ask for help, but he and his wife Jessica went anyway to stop Tindog from getting money from them.
Sought for comment, Commodore Allen Toribio, commander of the CGDP, only said they are also conducting their own investigation.
“Nagpapa-imbestiga na kami tungkol sa pangyayari,” he said.
He said if Tindog is guilty of extortion, and their investigation can prove it, he will not be tolerated.
He also clarified that what happened is an “isolated incident” and that the CGDP is doing everything to serve the people best in Palawan.