PNP welcomes reward for 4 former partylist congressmen
The Philippine National Police (PNP) welcomes the reward offer for the arrest of the four former partylist congressmen, led by National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
“We welcome the reward offer put-up by private citizens to hasten the judicial process in a murder case involving four prominent personalities affiliated with partylist organizations and militant cause-oriented groups,” PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday.
“The reward of P1,000,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, Lisa Maza, and Teodoro Casi?o should encourage would-be informants to provide relevant information on the whereabouts of these wanted persons,” he added.
A judge in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija issued arrest warrants for murder on the four former lawmakers. The four have not been seen in public almost a week now as their lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration.
Albayalde clarified that the reward is just a monetary compensation and not a dead or alive bounty.
“Although the reward offer is not officially part of the government reward program, I must clarify that this is not a dead or alive bounty, but monetary compensation for information provided,” he said.
Albayalde also urge leftist leaders to voluntarily turn themselves to the government authorities.
At any rate, I would like to reiterate our appeal to the concerned individuals to turn themselves in and face the issue squarely before the bar of justice,” he said.
“As we speak, tracker teams from the Criminal Investigation an Detection Group (CIDG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBl) are working on some leads and expect to obtain positive results soon,” he added.
In a press statement issued Monday, Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said “by publicly offering reward money on Secretary Liza Maza, Satur Ocampo, Rafael Mariano, and Teddy Casi?o at a press conference and now planning to increase its amount, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio is indecently inciting people to take the law.”
“It’s like a go-signal for a free-for-all race for bounty hunters, whether public or private persons. It comes at a time when extradujicial killings are prevalent with impunity, endangering the lives of our clients,” Rachel Pastores, managing counsel of PILC, lawyer for the four former lawmakers said.
“His bounty call is a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility which prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful, immoral or deceitful conduct. It is also a mockery of the lawyer’s oath to not wittingly promote any groundless or false suit, or to give aid to it, such as the Palayan case against the four,” she stressed.
“Topacio has forgotten his sacred mission as an officer of the court. Instead of being a guardian of truth and the rule of law and an instrument in the fair dispensation of justice, he has allowed himself to become a mercenary of the greedy for power. What is his interest in this case? Or, whose interest is he promoting here?” she added.
“He reminds us of the words of a former Court of Appeals presiding justice that ‘There are men in any society who are so self-serving that they try to make law serve their selfish ends. In this group of men, the most dangerous is the man of the law who has no conscience,’” she noted. Robina Asido/DMS