Bishop belittles P2-M reward for 'Big 5'

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Oct 31 2012 04:25 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2012 06:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The bishop of Puerto Princesa, Palawan downplayed the P2 million bounty the Department of Justice has offered for the arrest of each of the so-called “Big Five” fugitives.

Bishop Pedro Arigo told Radio Veritas that the culture of impunity will not stop even if the government increases the reward system against fugitives.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima yesterday wondered why authorities have yet to locate the whereabouts of the five fugitives two months after the bountry price was increased to P2 million from P1 million each.

The Big Five are: former Palawan Governor Joel Reyes and his brother Coron Mayor Mario Reyes, former general Jovito Palparan, Globe Asiatique developer Delfin Lee, Dinagat Rep. Ruben Ecleo, and New People’s Army leaders Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos. The Reyes brothers are counted as one.

“Sana nga makatulong yang pera na yan pero hindi pa rin yan ang nakikita nating solusyon para mabasag ang culture of impunity sa bansa. Alam mo naman ang istorya kung paano nakatakas ang magkapatid na Reyes,” Arigo said.

He said there may be truth to rumors that there is connivance between the Bureau of Immigration and other government agencies.

“Alam mo, kapag mayroon ang pera at koneksyon parang you can get away with the crime. Pero sana nga sa mga nagpapatupad ng batas ay walang palakasan. Talagang everybody will be given ika nga the full force of the law regardless kung sino ka man,” he said.

He added the capability of the police force should be increased.