Crime watchdog denies link to P1-M bounty
A faction of the watchdog Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) on Monday denied any involvement in the P1-million bounty supposedly raised by several businessmen for the arrest of four left-wing former lawmakers.
Carlo Batalla, who claims to be the president of CCW, described as “illegal” efforts to link his group to the reward offer.
Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio claimed on Saturday that several businessmen and former clients coursed the P1-million reward for the arrest of former party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Rafael Mariano and Liza Maza through the CCW.
‘Not my members’
“The use by Topacio et al. of [CCW] is unauthorized and therefore illegal. I’m the chairman/president of CCW and they are not my members,” Batalla said.
Topacio, head of CCW’s legal panel, and Diego Magpantay, who claims to be the CCW national president, said concerned citizens were “fed up with the antics” of Ocampo and the others.
Last week, a Nueva Ecija court issued an arrest warrant for the four former lawmakers over a 2006 double murder case.
Maza, chair of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, on Monday called on the people who put up the cash reward to use the money instead to help the poor.
“[T]his case is nothing but outright political persecution against … party-list lawmakers who opposed the administration of then President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” she said in a statement.
According to Batalla, the CCW kicked out Magpantay on March 3 over “corruption issues.”
Batalla filed an information sheet naming CCW’s new set of officers at the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 8, but Magpantay’s faction did the same on April 2.
In a phone interview, Magpantay denied the corruption allegations and said it was Batalla and his “breakaway” group that were removed from the roster because of “anomalous” projects. —MARICAR CINCO
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