P1M bounty out vs ex-Batangas vice-gov

By Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN Southern Tagalog

Posted at Jul 29 2009 01:25 PM | Updated as of Jul 30 2009 01:20 AM

A former Batangas governor on Wednesday offered a P1 million bounty for the arrest of former vice governor Ricky Recto, who has been ordered arrested for the 2006 bomb attack on the former governor.

Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, former Batangas governor Armand Sanchez's spokesman, said the details of the reward would be revealed by the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Wednesday afternoon.

Topacio said the former governor is also offering P500,000 each for the arrest of Recto's co-accused Christopher Belmonte, nephew of Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte; Christina Antonio, daughter of the Cagayan Governor Alvaro Antonio and a certain Bettina Balderama.

Recto, meanwhile, is a brother-in-law of incumbent Batangas Govenor Vilma Santos and brother of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto.

“Former Governor Sanchez is very happy and gratified that the case is nearing its closure with the impending arrest of the perpetrators. This is another indication that the justice system in the country is working well and that people who commit dastardly crimes will be made to account for their sins, no matter how wealthy, powerful or influential,” Topacio said.

Sanchez offered the rewards after the Batangas City Regional Trial Court Branch 3 on Tuesday issued arrest warrants against Recto and the others after finding "sufficient proof" that indicates the vice-governor is "probably guilty" of the bomb attack on the former governor.

On June 1, 2006, a bomb exploded in Sanchez's Hummer (H2) inside the Batangas provincial capitol compound. The former governor survived the attack, but his driver and close-in security, Luisito Icaro and Police Officer 2 Eric Landicho, died.

Police have arrested two members of rebel military group Magdalo identified 1Lt. Angelbert Gay and Lt. Senior Grade Kiram Sadava for the bombing. Both suspects pleaded not guilty to the murder and multiple murder charges during Tuesday's hearing.