North Cotabato, Davao Sur raise rewards to get killers
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines—Authorities in the provinces of North Cotabato and Davao del Sur have put up reward pots in a bid to speed up the resolution of what were viewed as politically motivated attacks there.
North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza on Tuesday said a P100,000 reward awaited anyone who could provide information about the killers of reelected Barangay Chair Eduardo Panes of Libo-o village in Mlang town.
Panes was shot dead by two men in Barangay Bagontapay, also in Mlang, on Nov. 2.
Police in Mlang said the identities of the suspects—who could also be behind two other murders involving close aides of Mayor Joselito Piñol there—had not been established.
Mendoza said she hoped the reward would encourage witnesses to come out and identify the killers.
“Any and all forms of abuses and injustice should not have a place in a civilized society,” Mendoza said when she announced the reward, which would come from her office’s peace and order fund.
“The situation is very alarming, we need to stop this,” Piñol said in response to Mendoza’s announcement.
In Davao del Sur, Digos City Mayor Joseph Peñas announced anew on Monday a P200,000 reward for anyone who could help solve attacks by armed groups there before the elections.
The Davao del Sur police considered the attacks acts of terrorism.
Senior Supt. Ronaldo Llanera, Davao del Sur police director, however, said police were not ready to divulge the identity of the suspected mastermind yet, or give further clues as they needed more evidence.
“But what is certain is that we now have a suspected mastermind,” he said.
Peñas did not comment on the identification of the supposed mastermind but added the money being offered was raised by the city government and Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista.
“These attacks are no less than terrorism already,” Llanera said.
Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, chief of Southern Mindanao police’s regional intelligence division, said the use of any explosive in attacks already constituted terrorism.
Dubria said the use of explosives by the men involved in the attack on Artemio Tajon, Davao del Sur prosecutor, and in previous attacks showed disregard for civilians, an element of terrorism.
“They want people to fear them, they want to be known as powerful, with the capability to harm anyone getting in their way,” he said. Reports from Edwin Fernandez, Orlando Dinoy and Eldie Aguirre, Inquirer Mindanao
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