ELEVEN months after he announced that he would stop efforts in the anti-drug campaign, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña is set to revive the cash reward to police officers who kill drug users, pushers and other criminals in legal operations.
This time, though, the mayor said the giving of the P50,000 reward will be done in a more “subtle” way and would go on without any “publicity.”
“I’m not giving it back again (per se), but I help other people wherever I can. This is consistent with the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte himself when he said, ‘You get a drug lord (in Cebu), you will get P5 million’,” he said.
Osmeña first announced the giving of cash reward a week after he won the mayoral polls last May.
But he stopped it two months later, after the revamp in the police offices last May did not sit well with him.
Recent successful buy-bust operations, however, impressed Osmeña who has also decided to include operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 in the giving of the reward.
He explained that the cash reward is not a “motivation” to kill somebody, but rather, to help finance the legal remedies authorities may need during a mandatory investigation.
“I disburse funds because the government does not provide legal defense for them. Even though it’s clear that it’s in the line of duty, we already know that the Commission on Human Rights is already running after everything they can find. The policemen are afraid to move,” Osmeña said.
The mayor also promised to shoulder any additional expenses should the P50,000 cash reward be unable to support all the legal remedies the authorities may need.
“If you need more, just let me know,” he said.
PDEA 7 Regional Director Yogi Ruiz said the mayor’s decision is a big help.
However, Ruiz said they are intent on arresting their subjects and that they only retaliate if they are forced to.
“It’s a big help, but we would as much as possible, we would like to arrest the subject unless they fight back and we have no choice,” Ruiz said.
“As long as it’s related to our duty, then our conscience is clear,” he added, referring to slain suspected drug targets in operations.
He said they appreciate the mayor’s help in the anti-drugs campaign.
Cebu City Director Joel Doria, for his side, said they will still work even if there is no reward.