By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has raised to P7 million the bounty for the head of the leader of the group behind the torture of four police officers in Negros Oriental, saying he did not believe that the one arrested was the mastermind.
Duterte made the statement shortly after he ordered the military and the police to go all-out against the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
In an interview in Malacañang, Duterte renewed his doubt that the mastermind behind the attack on four police officers in July was already arrested.
“Nasabi nila, ng army, nahuli na daw. Sabi ko, hindi ako — 19 years old lang eh (The army said they arrested the leader already. I doubt. The guy’s on;y 19 years old),” he said Tuesday evening.
“Sabi ko hanapin mo ‘yan. May promise ako ‘di ba. Six million na. O seven million na ngayon (I told you to look for the real one. I promised you P6 million, right? Now it’s P7 million),” he added.
The President reiterated that even the head of the leader of the group will do.
“Hanapin talaga ninyo ang totoo. Ang gawain lang ninyo, putulin ninyo ‘yung ulo, ilagay ninyo sa box, ‘yang Styrofoam, lagyan ninyo ng ice, at dalhin mo dito kay magtawag tayo ng press con (Look for the true mastermind. Behead him, put it in a Styrofoam box, put some ice and bring it here. I will then call for a press conference),” Duterte said.
“Bakit mo ganunin? Na sa karami ninyong p***** i**** nag-surrender sa Mindanao, ni isang kurot wala (Why would you torture them? A lot of you in Mindanao already surrendered to us but we did not even pinch them). Why do you — why do you do it to my soldiers?” he added.
Duterte initially set the reward money at P1 million. In late July, he raised it to P5 million for the capture, dead or alive, of the killers of the Negros policemen, and to P100,000 for every participant in the killing of the four cops.
Last month, Duterte raised the bounty to P6 million, and even offered an additional half-a-million if the heads of the perpetrators were brought to him.
Over the weekend, Duterte said that Mindanao has become more peaceful following the passage and ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL). However, he said the NPAs continue to be a problem.
In 2017, President Duterte terminated the government’s peace negotiations with the Communist side in The Netherlands due to the insurgents’ insincerity to the talks when they broke their own ceasefire. Since then, the government has opted for localized peace talks.
However, in July this year, Duterte slammed the NPAs over the killing of four cops in Negros Oriental, saying the group had gone overboard, and that their killings have become brazen and unbridled to include men in uniform, as well as civilians, who were murdered with impunity.
Last month, Duterte warned the NPA that the soldiers will not spare them because of the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, adding that he would implement a more severe measure to address the lawless violence in Negros Oriental, saying the NPA has gone too far.
“I will not take it sitting down… I’ve been telling you, I will implement a more severe measure. What — what is it? Maghintay lang kayo. Kasi sabi ko sumosobra na kayo (Just you wait. Because as I said, you have gone overboard),” he said.