Man caught extorting money from Sorsogon bishop

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Bishop Arturo M. Bastes. BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO
Bishop Arturo M. Bastes. BICOLTODAY.COM PHOTO

By Jorge Hallare

LEGAZPI CITY, 19June2016 — Sorsogon City police arrested a man in an entrapment operation after he was complained of extorting money from the bishop of the Catholic Church in Barangay Bibincahan, Sorsogon City, at about 10:40 a.m. Saturday.

A police report identified the suspect as 26-year-old Leo F. Funtanares, a nurse and resident of Sitio Arasyang, Barangay Union, Gubat, Sorsogon, who victimized Bishop Arturo Bastes, a resident of the Roman Catholic Home for the Clergy in Barangay Bibincahan.

The report said Funtanares went to the office of the bishop on May 3 and confessed that he and one of the staff member-priest of the church official have a relationship.

On May 13, the suspect returned and threatened to expose his relationship with the priest if Bastes would not give him Php10 million, which he lowered to Php5 million on May 25.

Because of the threat, the bishop decided to give Php25,000 on June 1 and told the suspect to come back after two weeks for a second payment.

On June 14, through his representative, Bastes decided to inform the SCPS, which immediately set up an entrapment operation against Funtanares.

Recovered from the suspect was an envelop containing Php 25,000 and two receipts from Bastes and signed by the suspect, indicating that he received the amount from the bishop. (PNA)

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