CEBU CITY — The National Bureau of Investigation-Region 7 (NBI-7) has arrested a female city government worker accused of extorting money from market vendors in Cebu City.
Kara Marie Bargamento, officer-in-charge of the city market operation division, was nabbed in an entrapment operation at the Freedom Park Market, Carbon on Thursday, the NBI said.
Market vendors accused Bargamento of asking for at least P100,000 from them so their stalls would not be affected by the planned modernization of the market that has been deemed historical.
“The payment will secure them a space in the soon to be opened interim market and promised to be in a prime location,” the NBI statement read.
Based on their investigation, there were at least 50 market vendors who transacted with Bargamento.
NBI released a video that showed the suspect talking with a vendor who was haggling with her to pay only P80,000 instead of P100,000. Sworn statements from city officials which denied any order for her to do so as alleged also supported the case.
Bargamento, who did not comment on her arrest, was subject to inquest proceedings before the Cebu City prosecutor for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
She was able to post bail after the inquest which was set by the prosecutor at P90,000.
— Report from Annie Perez