Raid on Online Lending App Firm: Over 250 Employees Detained Amid Allegations of Harassment

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In a recent operation, the Presidential Anti Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) conducted a raid on the premises of an online lending application (OLA) firm located in Makati. This action was prompted by a surge of complaints received via social media and directed to the Philippine National Police (PNP). The outcome of the raid led to the apprehension of over 250 employees, who are now undergoing questioning.

Complaints against the OLA firm included allegations of harassment, such as the sending of threatening messages and the use of intimidation tactics. PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio shed light on the nature of the grievances, citing instances of humiliation and threats, such as warning individuals about potential threats like ‘riding in tandem’ near their residences or threats to report them to the barangay.

However, a detained employee refuted these allegations, stating that the harassment was carried out by collectors and that only collectors had access to client accounts.

The situation escalated outside the office as relatives of the detained employees stormed the building, fueled by a livestream of the operation by vlogger Rendon Labador. Labador’s caption, “Huli kayo. Kulang kulang 300 illegal online lending apps! Huli sa akto!” (You’re caught. Around 300 illegal online lending apps caught in the act!), inadvertently revealed the faces of some employees.

Police Captain Michelle Sabino, ACG spokesperson, clarified that Labador was collaborating with them for content but emphasized her lack of control over how the vlogger presented the raid. Sabino acknowledged inaccuracies in the caption and attempted to rectify them, stating, “I don’t want to say that you are wrong. They really have been arrested, but generally, everyone involved is arrested.”

Concerns about privacy arose due to Labador’s livestream, which unintentionally exposed the faces of some employees. Sabino defended this by stating that the employees covered their faces, and if they did not, it was their responsibility. She mentioned giving them instructions on this matter.

PAOCC spokesperson Casio clarified that Labador is not part of the investigation and urged caution in making statements without evidence. The ongoing investigation will involve forensic analysis of seized equipment, and the OLA firm may face complaints related to the misuse of devices, aiding and abetting, and harassment.

Source: ABS-CBN News

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CashLoanPH Changed status to publish 18/12/2023
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