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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Espinoza: Reward: a cause for concern

MOST people have a cynical view on the government’s reward system to catch a criminal. Doubts on whether the whole amount is released to the informant or that the informant is an insider linger because the informant is not identified.

The complaint of the person who provided the police with the information on the whereabouts of Jessie Largo that he did not receive the full P200,000 reward somehow validates this longtime suspicion. Largo died in Talisay City in an encounter with the raiding policemen.

Talisay City Police Chief Jason Villamater denied the claim of the informant that he only received P79,000 out of the P200,000 that the City of Talisay offered for information on Largo’s whereabouts.

It’s the word of Villamater against that of the informant. But I don’t see any reason for the informant to lie. He said in an interview with TV Patrol Central Visayas that his wife kept the P79,000 he received from the Talisay City police. He claims that the reward money will be shared by the other informants.

The advantage in metropolitan areas like Talisay is that there is a media that can expose any attempt by anyone, like the PNP, to keep part of the reward money. The informant deserves a pat in the back for daring to tell the whole story.

The US government and our government have offered millions of pesos in reward money for information on the whereabouts of international terrorists. As to who received these after the death of the terrorists remains a “mystery.”

But let’s give the benefit of the doubt to the government’s armed forces that protocol was followed and complied with in the release of the reward money.

I previously wrote my distaste for the reward system to catch a criminal. It would only corrupt the people and those holding the purse. It’s my ardent belief that every citizen has the moral obligation to assist the police. Also, harboring a criminal is a crime under our penal laws.

•••

It’s the practice by most Cebuanos to stay overnight in cemeteries where their departed loved ones are buried in celebration of the All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. However, rain fell on Tuesday and it must have dampened their enthusiasm.

In my hometown in Cagwait, Surigao del Sur, no one stays overnight in our eerie cemetery. We have a funny way though of observing Kalag-Kalag (or Halloween (in western countries).

We had no electricity at that time and we relied on the moon. In the dead of the night before All Souls’ Day, barkadas would gather and remove things from houses and put them in other places as if the ghosts did it. No one got angry from the prank, though. Happy Halloween!
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