Abu tipster fears for life after getting reward
TAGBILARAN CITY—The driver of a motorcycle-for-rent who tipped off the military about the presence of Abu Sayyaf bandits in Clarin town in Bohol province last month has appealed to the government to protect him, saying he fears for his life after receiving his cash reward.
The tipster, who received part of a P1-million reward for information that led to the killing of four Abu Sayyaf members in Bohol, had to go into hiding and move from place to place for fear that he would be killed by robbers, a source told the Inquirer.
The source said the tipster, who received P450,000, had sought the help of someone close to the President about his situation. “He transfers from one house to another out of fear that he would be killed … His neighbors thought he received at least P1 million from the government, but he only got about half of it,” the source said.
Mr. Duterte earlier announced a bounty of P1 million on top of the P100,000 reward that the Bohol provincial government offered for the capture of each of the eight Abu Sayyaf members who arrived in a remote village in Bohol last month.
The tipster got wind of the group’s hiding place after he took one of the fugitives to Barangay Bacani in Clarin on April 22. The tip resulted in a clash that led to the death of Joselito Melloria, a native of Barangay Napo in Inabanga town.
Melloria had led the band of at least 10 Abu Sayyaf members to his hometown on April 10. Aside from Melloria, three other Abu Sayyaf members were killed in the ensuing firefight.
Top military officials turned over the cash reward to the tipster on April 29 at the Bohol governor’s mansion but they did not present him to reporters due to security reasons. The source said the tipster learned that he was getting only P450,000 when the money was handed to him.
Officials said he had to share the total reward money with other people who also gave information to the military. Among them were a mother and son in Barangay Bacani and another tipster whose mobile phone was taken by one of the armed men and which was used to contact Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza and her husband, suspected Abu Sayyaf bomber Reenor Lou Dungon, for a possible rescue.
Nobleza and Dungon, however, were arrested when they refused to stop at a military checkpoint in Bohol on April 22.
In a text message to the Inquirer, Lactao confirmed it was not only the tipster who received the cash reward from the government.
Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto and Clarin Mayor Allen Piezas said they witnessed the handover of the reward but said they did not have a hand in its distribution. —WITH A REPORT FROM CONNIE E. FERNANDEZ
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