MANILA, Philippines - A bounty of P150,000 is being offered for the arrest of the killers of journalist Ruby Garcia.
Cavite police director Senior Superintendent Joselito Esquivel said Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla and media group ALAM have raised the bounty from P100,000 to P150,000.
“Many are now calling us to give information after the reward was raised,” he said in Filipino. “However, we are thoroughly verifying whether the information is true.”
Esquivel said they have obtained promising leads, but he refused to divulge them so as not to jeopardize the operation.
“We have also obtained CCTV footage,” he said.
Esquivel said he has deployed 200 policemen, 10 percent of the Cavite police force, to work on the case.
Police security has been given to the family of Garcia while the investigation is ongoing, he added.
Esquivel said police investigators are taking into consideration Garcia’s job as a journalist and her money-lending business as they learned that she owned a huge real estate property and had given out loans amounting to P500,000, P1 million and P2 million to different people.
“We are considering all angles,” he said. “We are pursuing all the leads from work-related to personal angle.”
Esquivel said Garcia’s spat with relieved Tanza, Cavite chief of police Superintendent Conrado Villanueva is being considered but is not the focus of the investigation.
Villanueva is now under administrative relief after his name was mentioned in the dying statement of Garcia.
Esquivel said he personally knew Garcia, who has been a reporter for more than 25 years.
“So she was following up lots of information about people she had been criticizing, some of them politicians, some businessmen, and some criminals,” he said. “She also criticized policemen. We are looking into all these.”
Esquivel said Garcia felt slighted when Villanueva told her that he did not know her.
“Here in Cavite, if you are a policeman you know Ruby as she was the president of the press corps in Calabarzon,” he said. “So she was slighted. They had a verbal altercation in the presence of media personalities.”
Esquivel said the investigation and manhunt for the killers of Garcia are continuing.
“We have the full support and cooperation of Garcia’s family and the local government,” he said.
Esquivel said they have a self-imposed deadline of 72 hours. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Arnell Ozaeta