MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III raised the reward money for 4 high-profile fugitives in the hope it would lead to their arrest.
In a statement on Thursday, August 16, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, “The President is displeased with the lack of progress in arresting high-profile fugitives.”
The President ordered the following:
- Retired Maj Gen Jovito Palparan Jr – Aquino doubled the reward from P1 million to P2 million for information leading to his arrest. Palparan, tagged as the butcher of political activists, is wanted in connection with the abduction of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006. He has been missing since December 2011.
- Former Palawan Gov Joel Reyes – Aquino raised the reward from P1.55 million to P2 million for information leading to his arrest. Aquino also set a reward of P2 million for information leading to the arrest of Reyes’ brother and co-accused, Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes. The Reyeses are implicated in the murder of broadcast journalist Gerry Ortega in January 2011.
- Delfin Lee and Ruben Ecleo Jr – Aquino set a P2 million peso reward for information leading to their arrest. Lee is the owner of property firm Globe Asiatique. He faces a syndicated estafa case in connection with the P7-billion housing scandal that involves alleged “ghost borrowers.” Ecleo, a former representative of Dinagat, was found guilty of killing his wife in 2002.
- Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army leaders Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos – Aquino reminded the public of the existing reward of P5.6 million for information leading to their arrest.
Human rights groups have called on the Aquino administration to ensure the immediate arrest of the fugitives.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, chairman of the Housing Urban Development Coordinating Council, welcomed the increase in the bounty for Lee, who he said, “defrauded Pag-Ibig Fund of close to P7 billion.”
10 leads and counting…
In a press conference in Malacañang, Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo said like the President, he is also “not happy” that authorities have failed to arrest the fugitives who have been missing for several months.
Robredo said the police and the National Bureau of Investigation are not dealing with ordinary criminals.
“Like General Palparan, he knows many people who know [how to evade authorities]. The rest are influential, they have friends helping them who know how to hide,” Robredo said in Filipino.
Robredo said the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group formed tracker teams to arrest the fugitives but has so far been unsuccessful. Robredo said there will now be dedicated teams to double up their efforts.
“There are different NBI and PNP groups on the hunt for Palparan but until now, maybe we’ve been following 10 leads but we still can’t get him.”
On the Reyes brothers, Robredo said the latest police report disproves media accounts that they have already left the Philippines.
In the same press briefing, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said there are watch list orders and hold departure orders barring Palparan and the Reyes brothers from fleeing.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former fugitive himself, has offered the police advice on how to find Palparan: “Eat Palparan for breakfast, eat Palparan for lunch, eat Palparan for dinner.” – Rappler.com