CEBU- The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Central Visayas filed complaints before the Talisay City Prosecutor’s office against three individuals who allegedly asked for money from people whose power supply has yet to be restored.
The NBI said it filed charges of Electricity Theft and Deceit against Doroteo Auxtero Jr., Maximo Mariot Jr., and Bryan Sacmar.
Personnel of the NBI-7 conducted last Tuesday an entrapment operation at Upper Mohon, Talisay City, resulting in the arrest of the three men.
Authorities said the suspects posed themselves as legitimate linemen and electricians, then asked for P10,000 in exchange for the supposed immediate restoration of their victims' power supply.
An additional P5,000 was allegedly even requested.
“These people make it appear that their work is legitimate and they have job orders that were illegally generated to mislead consumers that they are true in order to extort money,” said NBI-7 Director Renan Oliva.
Oliva added that the suspects even had in their possession billing statements of the consumers which was highly unusual and illegal.
The Visayan Electric Company (VECO), which requested the investigation, has received reports about contractors allegedly extorting their consumers as it continues power restoration efforts more than a month after Typhoon Odette struck Cebu.
“We do not tolerate this. And we need to put a stop to this. And hopefully this one will be just one of the results of our efforts because they are also victimizing our customers,” said VECO President Raul Lucero.
VECO is asking its customers not to tolerate these kinds of offers despite the desperation, saying it is working around the clock to restore power.
As of Thursday, the electric company said they have already energized 87.27 percent or 413,841 out of their 474,182 customers.
Lucero said some toppled poles have not been replaced, noting that damage has been extensive.
The NBI-7 said they will not stop going after people engaged in the same alleged activity as the three suspects, as they continue to verify reports that a group is behind it.