P10-million bounty up vs gun-for-hire gang leader
(UPDATED) A reward of P10 million awaits tipsters who can help with the arrest of fugitive Ric Peralta, the alleged leader of a gun-for-hire gang linked to some local politicians, an anti-crime watchdog said Wednesday.
The bounty, which doubled from an initial P5 million, was raised by the families of the crime group's victims, Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) spokesperson Arsenio Evangelista told reporters.
"'Yung reward money we strongly believe na very effective especially kung ang reward money is substantial reaching to P10 million. It is a strong instrument o weapon to capture 'yung mga wanted person," Evangelista said.
(We believe increasing the reward money to P10 million will be a strong instrument to capture wanted personalities.)
The Philippine National Police said Peralta’s group is used by politicians as private armed group and gun-for-hire in Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Tarlac, Cagayan, Metro Manila and La Union.
Governors and mayors, in particular, allegedly use their services for protection, intimidation and killing enemies in politics.
Peralta is wanted for numerous political killings. He was responsible for the deaths of Gapan, Nueva Ecija Mayor Emerson Pascual’s brothers in 2006.
“Hindi pa nga kami pulitiko noon, pinagbintangan pa lang na lalaban ang tatay ko pinapatay na kami eh," Pascual said.
(We weren't even in politics then, my father was just rumored to run for office and we were targetted.)
"Natatakot ako sa safety namin kasi kami lang ang lumaban sa Peralta group,” he said.
(I fear for my safety because we are the only ones going against Peralta group.)
Recently, the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group arrested 5 Peralta syndicate members but still have to find their leader.
Chief Supt. Glenn Dumlao, PNP AKG director, said the reward money is useful in putting more pressure on the criminal group.
"Kahit saan siya pumunta, hindi na siya ganoon kalaya gumalaw. Hindi na siya ganoon kalaya pumunta sa mga mayor to offer his services. May mga kliyente s'ya diyan na aayaw nang dumikit sa kaniya,” he said.
The AKG official said authorities have identified the mayor possibly protecting Peralta. They are also monitoring three more politicians who may have gotten Peralta’s services.
“Once na may magkanlong kasi na politician na powerful sa AOR (area of responsibility) nila, nagiging well-entrenched na rin itong mga gun-for-hire na ito dahil how would you expect itong local police to raid the house of his mayor. How would you expect 'yung provincial director to raid the property of his governor or congressman, eh di patay-patayan ka diyan,”’ Dumlao explained.
(Once a politician protects a gun-for-hire group, they become well-entrenched in the area. How do you expect the police to raid a mayor's house? How do you expect them to raid a governor or congressman's property?)
Authorities are asking the public to give any information regarding Peralta’s whereabouts by calling the following PNP-AKG hotlines at 09273234894 and 7230401 local 4287.