NManila, June 14, 2003 By Christina Mendez (Star) Combined agents of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Police Anti-Crime Emergency Response (PACER) arrested the medico-legal chief of the NBI for allegedly extorting P200,000 from a hospital owner from Pangasinan Wednesday, the police said yesterday.

Dr. Maximo Reyes is now facing extortion charges and may be stripped off his license to practice his profession for life, said Senior Supt. Alan Purisima, head of the Philippine National Policeís PACER.

According to Purisima, Reyes was nabbed right inside his office at the NBI headquarters located along Taft Avenue in Manila by agents of the NBI. Combined agents of the ISAFP and the PACER acted as support group.

"He was not able to resist arrest because the police, ISAFP and the NBI were all over to him the place," Purisima told The STAR in an interview.

Purisima said Reyes also tested positive for ultraviolet powder which came from the bundles of money handed over by the victim, Dra. Lenet Chan, owner of a hospital in Carmen, Pangasinan.

The police said the money was supposed to be in exchange for a favorable medico-legal report of a female patient who died at Chanís hospital early this month.

A report by PACER showed that the victim, who was not immediately identified, died six days after a caesarian operation possibly due to loss of blood or complication. No further details were given.

Chan requested the local NBI office to conduct the medico-legal examination on the victim under the supervision of Dr. Jet Castro, medico-legal officer of Pangasinan.

Chan told probers she tried to get the report from Castro but the officer referred him to get the report instead from Reyes.

"The victim was asked to prepare four envelopes containing P200,000 and deliver it to Reyes in Manila," Purisima said.

It was at this juncture that Chan sought the help of Corpus, who called up NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco regarding the matter on June 9.

After learning about the incident, Wycoco ordered the creation of a special task force to conduct the entrapment operation against Reyes. It was not yet ascertained if Castro will also be held liable for any criminal offense.

Wycoco consented to the conduct of police operations against Reyes. The police had quoted him as saying, "Sige, marami na akong naririnig na pera pera si Maximo Reyes (Ok, Iíve heard a lot of rumors against Maximo Reyes)."

The PACER after coordination with Supt. Raul Petrasanta, chief of Urdaneta police, set the entrapment operation on June 10 but it was postponed.

Purisima said Reyes was turned over to the NBI yesterday afternoon. "We also turned over the results of our investigation to them since they can properly determine what actions can be made out of Reyesí alleged extortion activities," he said.

A number of NBI officials and agents sought by The STAR for comment merely shook their heads in disbelief. Other officials contacted through phone were also surprised.

Ricardo Diaz, NBI-International Police (Interpol) chief said he heard about the arrest from one of the division chiefs yesterday.

"Iíve been with the NBI for about 15 years at inabutan ko na lang sya. Perhaps, Dr. Reyes has been with the bureau for more than 30 years now," Diaz noted.

Diaz is hopeful that the arrest would serve as an example to all NBI officials and personnel and stop them from any wrongdoing. ó With Jose Aravilla, Cecille Suerte Felipe

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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