Failing to find 4 prominent fugitives, PNP hikes rewards
Huge cash rewards await anyone who can help flush out the so-called “Big Four” fugitives: Jovito Palparan, the brothers Joel and Mario Reyes, and Ruben Ecleo, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.
PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome announced with a flourish the cash rewards for the four wanted personalities, who have embarrassed the PNP by evading capture for months now despite the deployment of police teams to track them down.
The PNP is recommending an additional P300,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother, Coron Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., the suspected masterminds in the January 2011 murder of radio commentator Gerry Ortega.
This is on top of the P1.55 million previously offered by private individuals and groups for the arrest of the Reyes brothers.
As for Dinagat Island Representative Ruben Ecleo, who was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of his wife 10 years ago, Bartolome said the PNP would recommend an additional P300,000 for his capture, raising the current bounty to P450,000.
Bartolome said retired Major General Jovito Palparan, who has been implicated in the disappearance of two University of the Philippines student activists, continued to carry a P1-million bounty on his head.
Asked if the PNP had any leads on the locations of the four, Bartolome said they had some, but “one lead can change its color from time to time.”
“Maybe at this time, the lead is very positive, then moments later, it will change color. But just the same, we will continue to pursue the first lead but we also welcome other leads in other possible places,” he said.
Asked why the reward system was apparently not working, he said the hiding places of the fugitives were apparently “in their control” because of family members protecting them.
“We should change the point of view that when a family member is wanted by the law, we should hide them and help them escape the authorities. We should help the law account for them,” Bartolome said.
On Monday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) pressed for a more aggressive manhunt against the four fugitives and deployed an 80-strong task force.
CIDG Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said the CIDG had activated a special task group under Senior Superintendent Keith Ernald Singian, deputy director for operations, to lead efforts in hunting down the wanted personalities.
Meanwhile, for helping to put wanted criminals behind bars, 17 confidential informants of the PNP were given cash rewards amounting to hundreds of thousands of pesos, officials said Tuesday.
Bartolome said that up to P2.4 million was to be divided among the tipsters who gave the police valuable information on the whereabouts of top fugitives, including a suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre who was recently arrested.
The cash rewards for the informants ranged from P90,000 to P300,000.
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