3 May 99

This just in from a friend in the Philippines:

“There is a new extortion scheme being perpetuated by certain local police. A number of cases have already been reported, but so far the media has not wanted to pass them on. They are apparently as intimidated as the rest of us.

A friend was flagged down in front of Uniwide Coastal City (suburb outside the capitol) last week by local police, in uniform, at eight in the evening. It was a supposed road checkpoint. The police stopped his car and ordered him out. The police then tore his care apart and resurfaced after about fifteen minutes to show him a pack of shabu (local crack cocaine). The shabu was planted by the police. My friend has never used drugs in his life.

He was instantly arrested and brought to an unknown place and beaten to within an inch of his life! The next morning, the police called the family and demanded 2.5 million pesos, or they said they would charge him with illegal possession and being a pusher. The family was able to negotiate it down to eight hundred thousand

Another friend’s brother was also picked up near Valle Verde (posh residential area) months ago and is still in jail, because the police filed criminal charges against him, since her family refused to pay the ransom to the police.

It looks as if the extortion days are back and here to stay. May God protect us.”

Lesson: We need to thank God we live where we do!