NBI nabs FB ‘sextortionist’

Ghio Ong (The Philippine Star) - February 4, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – A man was arrested in a sting yesterday after he allegedly recruited at least 10 women for non-existent overseas jobs through Facebook and later drugged and raped them.

Ricardo Arquero Jr., 49, also filmed the rapes on his mobile phone and used them to blackmail his victims, according to the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Organized and Transnational Crime Division.

NBI agents arrested Arquero, a former security guard from Isabela and now staying in Parañaque City, in a bust they staged in the room of a budget hotel in Cubao, Quezon City yesterday morning.

They found videos of Arquero’s victims on his mobile phone and a flash drive.

The investigator in charge of Arquero’s case said his latest victim, “Lanie,” a native of Ilagan, Isabela, met Arquero on Facebook in September last year while she was searching online for jobs in Singapore.

Introducing himself as a former police officer in Alaska in the US, Arquero offered Lani a job in his mother’s Internet café with a monthly salary of $850 or P40,000.

He promised Lanie the job for a placement fee of P50,000.

Abused, blackmailed

Arquero asked for an initial payment of P12,000 and told Lanie to meet him at a fastfood restaurant in Cubao. When they met, he took Lanie to a budget hotel, asked for the money and the necessary documents.

In the hotel room, he drugged Lanie and used his mobile phone to film himself raping her. He also robbed her of her mobile phone worth P28,000.

From October to December last year, Arquero would blackmail Lanie into giving him more money and meeting him at a motel.

When she could no longer produce any money last December, Arquero posted nude photos of her and the rape video on her Facebook timeline, tagging all her friends as well as her husband and children, the NBI said.

He also threatened Lanie he would kill her family if she failed to pay him.

Lanie told reporters yesterday that her husband, filled with rage and disgust, left her. Her children have refused to talk to her after watching the video, she added.

This made her decide to stay in Manila. She said Arquero managed to extort P49,000 from her during the six times he also raped her.

On Jan. 22, Lanie said Arquero demanded P4,700 so he could process her job application for Alaska.

She approached the NBI for help, and the agents set up a sting at the budget hotel, catching Arquero in the room with her. Arquero claimed he was Lanie’s boyfriend.

The NBI will file charges of illegal recruitment, estafa, grave threats, violation of the law penalizing photo and video voyeurism, robbery-extortion and six counts of rape.

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