The Volunteers against Crime and Corruption (VACC) favors President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s proposed reward system against drug lords.
“I’m all for it, 100%. In fact, I consulted our chairman, Dante Jimenez, of VACC,” said VACC Vice-president Cory Quirino.
“If [you ask] the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, [they] will probably tell you, according to their statistics, that eight out of 10 crimes are drug-related. It’s a very serious thing that affects all of us, and it even affects business as well. I believe in the reward system,” she added.
Today, Quirino proposes amendment of the law that prohibits the system of collecting bounty from the arrest of criminals.
“Presently according to VACC records, and according to our chairman, the present system is corrupt because it is prohibited, however, what's happening now is there's cooperation between law enforcers and private citizens…and they share in the reward,” she said.
READ: Dead or alive: P3-M bounty for drug lords ready
But Quirino said, the proposal for offering bounty for the capture of drug lords should also be scrutinized to prevent abuse.
“This must be studied and there must be stricter measures to ensure that it is not used as an excuse or as a license for witch-hunting, because everyone can point a finger at someone else and say ‘oh he’s this, he’s that’,” she said.
“This is why I think, I believe that the watchdog groups like VACC are very important. The role of VACC and other anti-crime groups are important to cooperate with the private sector and the law enforcement agencies,” she added
Quirino said they are currently in the process of crafting a formal recommendation to Duterte to strengthen the watchdog responsibilities of groups like VACC.
She said she would also want Duterte to explain the parameters of his proposed policies on crime suppression and how it will work with his other agenda.
"You talk about fighting crime, I think, hand in hand, you have to work on our anti-poverty, poverty alleviation campaign," she said.
Quirino, a victim of kidnapping in 1995, said she believes drugs and kidnapping are related. She recalled her captors talking about robbing her of her money to be able to replenish their shabu supply.
“Pards, wala na tayong shabu. Anong gagawin natin ngayon? Kunin natin lahat ng pera nya para makabili tayo ng shabu,” she quoted them.
She recalled being gripped by fear then—fear of being raped and killed without anyone knowing her whereabouts—when she heard the culprits were drug users too.
“To them, it was a natural thing, it was a lifestyle for them to be on drugs,” she said.
ON CITIZENS' ARREST AND DEATH PENALTY
Citing Rule 113 Section 5 of the Revised Penal Code, which "allows every citizen to arrest any criminal for as long as the crime is being perpetrated or committed right before their very eyes," Quirino said people who witness crime and do not report them become "silent accomplices" to the crime.
"If you don’t want crime to happen in this country, you want to curb it, you want to stop it, [then] you have to participate, you have to get involved," she said.
"For as long as we all keep silent, crime will continue to be propagated and committed in this country," she added.
Meanwhile, Quirino is also backing the administration's push for the reimposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes, though she is uncertain if hanging is the most humane way to do it.
Her kidnappers were sentenced to death in 1998, but because the death penalty was repealed soon after, they all still reside in the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa.
“This is very personal to me—that the death penalty will be restored and reinstated. I am for it. There are heinous crimes prescribed by the law that require the death penalty, the maximum penalty, which is death. I believe that all heinous crimes deserve the death penalty," she said.