Police field commanders pressed to hunt Palparan, Ecleo, Reyes brothers, Delfin LeeBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief has given field commanders more time to hunt down the “Big Five” high-profile fugitives or face possible removal from office.
“They have a job to do, we know they have limitations, but just the same, they have to do something about it especially if these Big Five have sought refuge in their area,” PNP Chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome told reporters in an interview.
When asked if field commanders would possibly be relieved of duty if they fail to find the fugitives, Bartolome said that, “We will consider some necessary and appropriate actions but I’m giving them more time to do that, but it has to be soon.”
The “Big Five” are Globe Asiatique owner Delfin Lee, retired Army Major General Jovito Palparan, former Palawan governor Joel Reyes, his brother Mario Reyes, and Dinagat Representative Ruben Ecleo.
Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr., Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief, said that the suspects are not ordinary people. “They have the capability and means to hide. They have contacts. They have money. They have support,” Pagdilao told reporters in a separate interview Monday.
He however maintained that the fugitives have not left the country. “By all indications, they are in the country.”
He said they have received some information that the Big Five have left the country, but upon investigation, turned out to be false information.
“We are all waiting for (results), we should speed things up,” Bartolome said.
Lee is wanted for defrauding the government of P6.65 billion in housing loans. Palparan is wanted for alleged human rights abuses while he was with the military.
The Reyes brothers are wanted after being tagged as the brains behind the killing of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
Ecleo has been sentenced with a 40-year prison term for killing his wife.