A veteran Manila councilor has sought an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in the wake of reports that a group comprising of incumbent and former city councilors have been making the rounds of night establisments in various parts of the the city, extorting money in exchange for freedom from harassment.
In a privilege speech, Councilor Bernie Ang (3rd district) stressed the need for a thorough probe to be done on the issue and for the said current and former councilors to be identified for appropriate action, since everyone in the council is suspect at the moment.
He cited newspaper reports saying four incumbent and two ex-councilors have been ‘visiting’ certain establishments, warning their owners of continued harassment and closure if they will not give in to the group’s monetary demand, among others, a monthly ‘payola’ of from P30,000 to P60,000.
According to Ang, he was particularly alarmed at the mention of Binondo, aside from the Ermita-Malate areas, as among the areas already ‘visited’ by the extorting councilors, since Binondo falls under third district in which he is one of six councilors elected.
Ang also expressed disappointment that the image of the entire city council is being dragged into the wrongdoing of a few, as he stressed that sanctions will have to be meted against those found to be involved in the said harassment and extortion activities while using their position as councilors.
“We were elected to create meaningful laws that will redound to the benefit of the city and its residents, including those doing legitimate business in the city and not to use our position for selfish, errant interests,” he stressed.
It was learned that aldermen who may be found guilty of the said wrongdoings may be meted suspension by the Ombudsman after due investigation.
Reportedly, the said incumbent and former councilors also frequent the establishments targeted for extortion to drink and eat for free, either together or separately, with their own set of companions. The affected establishments are mostly nightspots such as clubs, bars, massage parlors, KTVs and other liquor-serving establishments which are properly licensed, operating legitimately and paying their dues to the city.
“These shameless extortionists masquerading as ‘honorable’ current and former members of the city council must be unmasked and punished at the soonest time possible to serve as a warning for and to prevent others from doing the same thing,” Ang stressed.