Aquino ups reward for Palparan, Reyes et al.By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Piqued that the nation’s most wanted fugitives remain scot-free, President Benigno Aquino on Thursday raised the bounty for the capture of Jovito Palparan, a retired general known as “the butcher,” and other high-profile figures facing criminal charges.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters that Mr. Aquino was “displeased with the lack of progress” in arresting Palparan, former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother Mario, real estate developer Delfin Lee, Dinagat Representative Ruben Ecleo, and communist guerrilla chiefs Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos.
He said the President’s action would “assist the authorities in their task of capturing these fugitives.”
Mr. Aquino doubled the reward from P1 million to P2 million for information leading to the arrest of Palparan, who is facing charges of kidnapping for the disappearance of students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. Activists call him “the butcher” for his alleged human rights abuses.
The US-based Human Rights Watch said in a recent report that Palparan was being protected by some military officials and businessmen who had benefited from his high-handed suppression of the communist insurgency.
Mr. Aquino raised the reward from P1.55 million to P2 million for the capture of Reyes and another P2 million for his brother, who is mayor of Coron, Palawan province. The brothers have been tagged as the brains behind the killing of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Gerry Ortega.
A reward of P2 million each was set for Lee and Ecleo. The owner of Globe Asiatique, Lee is charged with syndicated estafa. Ecleo is wanted for the murder of his wife Alona in Cebu City in 2002 and had been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia.
Mr. Aquino reminded the public of the existing reward of P5.6 million each for the capture of Tiamzon and Madlos, ranking leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). The two have outstanding warrants of arrest.
Interagency task force
Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, appearing in the Palace news briefing with Lacierda, announced he had formed an interagency task force composed of the National Bureau of Investigation and Philippine National Police to unify and intensify the manhunt efforts of law enforcement authorities.
Robredo admitted that previous efforts of the “tracker teams” put up by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group had all failed.
“[So] there is an additional order from the President to double up efforts to hunt them down,” said Robredo, assuring the public that all seven are still in the country.
National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia expressed confidence that the reiteration of the existing bounty for Tiamzon and Madlos would not affect the revival of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF).
“The bounties for these two top wanted CPP-NPA personalities have been outstanding ever since even while the peace process was going on,” he said.
Garcia described Tiamzon as the leader of the hardline faction of the CPP-NPA.
He said Tiamzon was responsible for “the spate of violent incidents that have been occurring throughout the Philippines, particularly those perpetrated against civilian targets, in complete disregard of the ongoing peace process.”
Madlos was described as “a notorious CPP-NPA personality responsible for several high-profile attacks on civilian targets and key economic programs in Mindanao.
He was involved in several kidnapping incidents as well as one of those charged for the raid on Taganito Mines.
Garcia said the government had already addressed an NDF demand for the release of 17 detained guerrillas.
“We have, in fact, released several of them—not the entire number but several of them—[which is] quite a significant number. And the discussions between the NDF and the GRP panel are [ongoing],” he said.
Originally posted at 03:21 pm | Thursday, August 16, 2012