Monday, May 8, 2017

We’re transparent, says CentCom

From the Sun Star-Cebu (May 8): We’re transparent, says CentCom

 THE Central Command (CentCom) assured the public of their transparency over the giving of reward money to the Bohol tipsters who led government troops to the hideout of Abu Sayyaf members in Clarin, Bohol.

 CentCom commander Lt. Gen Oscar Lactao said in a text message that the money was given to the tipsters, who were all civilians. “(The reward was) equally divided among the informants,” he said.

 Col. Medel Aguilar, assistant chief of the unified staff for civil military operations, said that they had many witnesses, who include government officials, during the turnover of more than P1 million to the informants.

 “There’s a third party who witnessed the turnover of the reward money to the informants,” Aguilar said. He said there were more than three informants who received their share of the P1 million reward money from President Rodrigo Duterte and the local government of Bohol.

 “There’s a process we followed during the turnover. Rest assured that the money was given according to the information they gave us,” Aguilar said.

“An information is a raw material. You need confirmation from other sources and it’s okay if there’s only one source as long as he’s reliable but we always seek information from other sources,” he said.

A habal-habal driver, who allegedly received P450,000, and three other witnesses reportedly led government troops to a cave in Barangay Kalubihan, Clarin where ASG local guide Joselito Melloria was hiding, resulting in the arrests of more members of the terrorist group.

 In an earlier interview, Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto said only P1.1 million of the P4 million was given because the three ASG members were subdued on the basis of military intelligence and not on a tip from the civilians.

 Meanwhile, Police Regional Office (PRO) Director Noli Taliño said his office has no hand in the giving of reward money to the informants. He said the budget was not coursed through the PRO 7 but to the CentCom.

 “Hindi nga ako makapag-comment sa issue na yan kasi hindi naman dumaan sa amin (I can’t comment on that because the money didn’t pass through us),” he said.

Taliño said the killing of alleged ASG member Saad Samad Kiram was legitimate as the latter tried to snatch a firearm from one of the police officers. He said Kiram divulged sensitive details, including the participation of Renierlo Dongon and Police Supt. Ma. Cristina Nobleza in ASG.

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