ZAMBOANGA CITY – An alleged scam artist was arrested in Pagadian City following the Army’s 1st Infantry Division’s (ID) discovery of a swindling syndicate victimizing aspiring soldiers, a military official said Wednesday.

Capt. Mary Jephte Mañebog, the 1ID information officer, said the scammers' existence was uncovered after 20 aspiring soldiers complained why they were not given priority to take the qualifying examination despite paying P1,400 each.

An aspiring soldier should pass the Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test (AFPSAT), the unified written entrance examination, for entry into the military service.

“It came to our attention when some applicants complained why they were not able yet to take the AFPSAT despite they have already paid,” Mañebog said.

The 1ID has scheduled the conduct of AFPSAT in Pagadian City from July 10 to 13, and in Iligan City from July 15 to 17.

When informed that no fee is required, Mañebog said the aspiring soldiers immediately reported the suspects' activity to the Army.

Mañebog said one of the suspects was arrested Tuesday while an AFPSAT review center in Pagadian City was padlocked on the same day.

“We want to make it clear that there is no review center and no specific reviewer for AFPSAT,” she said.

Mañebog said the Pagadian City police are readying charges for usurpation of authority and falsification of public documents against the arrested suspect and his cohorts.

The arrested suspect, whose identity Mañebog withheld, admitted having four cohorts. (PNA)