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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Seares: Open season on bounty hunting in Cebu City

CEBU City mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña's offer of P50,000 and P5,000 bounty for the death or wounding of a criminal or crime suspect has drawn national and global media attention. Has that made him slow down and ponder on his oath amid the uproar from well-meaning citizens for public officials to enforce and uphold the law?

On the contrary.

Tomas complained about blood money running out, obviously a faked concern since, as in other pet projects, he unfailingly manages to raise the fund. And he's even expanding the scope of his ala-wild, wild-west pay-per-hit program.

Note the dimensions of it, as he disclosed in a dyCM radio interview:

TARGETS. Not just convicted criminals but also crime suspects, not just in prohibited drugs but in all other crimes.

Will a convict released from prison after having served his penalty, a thief caught pilfering a clothesline, or a husband suspected of adultery be covered? With the wide scope, yes.

HUNTERS. Not just cops and other law enforcers, also barangay tanods and paramilitary force members. Civilians, including street "tambays" and housewives who're short on the household budget. Everyone who’s emboldened enough to execute a criminal
or crime suspect.

'IN LINE OF DUTY.' The condition is attached to make the killing look legal. But a law enforcer can be in line of duty and yet may kill or maim a convict or suspect illegally. Doesn't "in line of duty" in effect revise the PNP manual of operations? And what rules do civilian bounty hunters follow?

BOUNDARIES. There appears to be no boundaries on kill site. The target may be hunted outside Cebu City and the hunter still gets the reward. Or the target may operate outside the city but is gunned down in Cebu. "What will help Cebu" is a flexible and vague basis for the snuffing out of a human life.

Open season for bounty hunting. Yippee -- or yuck.

(paseares@gmail.com)
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