Arrest of 2 officials stuns National Museum


Posted at Aug 23 2019 11:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2019 12:15 AM


MANILA - National Museum officials said Friday they were "in a state of shock and disbelief" after hearing that two of their colleagues were arrested for extortion.

"The National Museum is in a state of shock, disbelief, and upset that such a grave incident has occurred, unprecedented in its long history," the institution said in a statement.

Ernesto Toribio Jr., head of National Museum Treasure Hunting Section, and Angel Bautista, acting director of Cultural Properties Division, were arrested in an entrapment operation last August 19 after treasure hunters accused them of demanding money in exchange of issuing treasure hunting permits.

The two reportedly asked P120,000 from a client in the entrapment operation, which is a lot higher than the official application fees. After the "deal" was done, the officials were immediately arrested.

The National Museum emphasized "it does not, and never shall, tolerate corrupt or unethical practices" within the institution.

"We are happy and ready to lend our uncompromising stance against corruption towards the efforts of our colleagues in concerned agencies," it added in the statement.

The institution, however, said it hopes Toribio and Angel Bautista will be accorded due legal process.

The officials are under custody of the National Bureau of Investigation.