GIVING a reward to police officers who kill suspected drug personalities and criminals might create a “bounty hunter culture,” according to a Commission on Human Rights (CHR) official.

Chito Gascon, CHR commissioner, said police are “obligated to follow rules of engagement and protocols when they undertake law enforcement procedures.”

“Offering a reward for killing might create a bounty hunter culture. That might lead to certain law enforcement personnel in Cebu shooting first to achieve maximum impact and obtain death when they are in the middle of law enforcement procedures so they might claim this reward,” said Gascon in an interview over ANC’s Dateline Tuesday, May 24.

Gascon, however, admitted that the CHR has no power to prosecute. The agency can only recommend the filing of criminal cases before the justice department and administrative cases before the Ombudsman and the interior department.

Cebu City Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña promised to give a P50,000 reward to the police for every drug personality or other notorious criminal killed.

Osmeña gave P20,000 to PO3 Julius Regis of the City Intelligence Branch for wounding two men who allegedly robbed a passenger jeepney last Thursday.

“Lawlessness, fear”

He also gave P50,000 to the City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group for killing a suspected drug pusher in Barangay Sudlon Dos last Thursday dawn.

Gascon said he understands local officials want to secure their place and constituents from violent crimes.

“But if they promote a culture of violence, what we might see is not the promise of law and order, but instead lawlessness and fear,” he said.

Meanwhile, operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 arrested two suspected drug personalities and seized P944,000 worth of illegal drugs in a buy-bust in Villagonzalo 2, Barangay Tejero, Cebu City at 1:25 p.m. Tuesday.

Supt. Fermin Armendarez, CIDG 7 deputy chief, identified the suspects as Junmel Ocor Alivio and Roger Banticel Tagayong.

Seized from the two were 80 grams of white crystals believed to be shabu.

Complaints for violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, will be filed against the suspects.