REWARD for information on crime suspects are for informants, not for the police who investigate the crimes and hunt down the suspects, said AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. who slammed “the long-suspected practice of some police who split up the cash rewards among themselves as some sort of incentive bonus.”
“The moment the total of P35 million pesos was turned over to the PNP, the laws on cash rewards, witness protection, custody of funds for public purposes went into play. Nowhere in any of our laws and regulations does it say the informants’ bounty are incentive bonuses for any police officer or any so-called ninja cop,” Garbin said referring to the P35 million reward for the witnesses that led to the arrest of the murderers of Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
Of the P35 million bounty, P20 million was from the Office of the President, P13 million from the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, and P2 million from the Provincial Government of Albay.
“So nasaan na yung P35 million? Posible kayang ‘na-ninja’ ito parang yung iniimbestigahan ngayon ng Senado na diumano’y pagkupit ng ilang pulis sa nakukumpiskang droga? These unscrupulous police officers, sometimes called ninja cops, are experts at playing with the system because they fully control the system. Apparently, there are no administrative and cash controls that are beyond the magic of these ninja cops. Congress must unmask these criminals in police uniform,” Garbin said.
“That they are even called ‘ninja’ cops is a verbal assault on the revered role of ninjas in the history of the Japanese people. The real Japanese ninjas were men and women who lived by a code of honor and service. The Filipino ninja cops and other corrupt police are the exact opposite because they are devoid of honor and tarnish public service,” the congressman also said.
It was not the first time for the police to have custody of rewards for informants. Even before Presidential Decree 1731, it has been the practice of government and some in the private sector to entrust informant rewards to the police.
PD 1731 is the prevailing law on informant rewards. In the 16th Congress (HB 3507) and 17th Congress (HB 3532) bills were filed to put in place a “Community Informant Reward Program” to update PD 1731.
“I am refiling the bills while we await the House, likely to be led by the committee on public accounts, to investigate the P35 million in cash reward for information on the assassins of the late AKO BICOL Rep. Rodel Batocabe,” Garbin said.
“We want a transparent online system for informants’ cash rewards, so any citizen can find out in real time, where the funds are, where it is deposited, who has custody of it, and who are responsible for it. Such a system can be scaled up to apply to all public funds, to every peso and centavos of the funds of the Filipino people,” the AKO BICOL congressman said.
Garbin warned the PNP against “making lame excuses, including claims of ignorance, government accounting lapses, and other nonsense because Congress and the Filipino people will see through the sorcery, charade, and mirage.”