By Francis Wakefield
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday awarded P14.25 million in cash rewards to five informants who helped law enforcers neutralize five communist terrorists.
AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. personally handed over the cash rewards to the five individuals whose identities were concealed for their security in a ceremony held at Silid Lapu-Lapu, General Headquarters Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Madrigal said through information shared by the informants, five CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT) leaders were either killed or arrested by the military and police.
“The AFP is grateful for all the informants whose help and cooperation became vital in the neutralization of these criminals who were responsible for heinous and atrocious crimes against our people and the nation,” Madrigal said.
Madrigal said one of the CNT leaders killed was Victorio Tesorio who had a P5 million bounty on his head. He was wanted for the crimes of multiple murder and frustrated murder and was listed number 12 in the Joint Order Number 14-2012 of the Department of National Defense and Department of Interior and Local Government (DND-DILG).
Another high value target is Promencio Abaya Cortez with a P4.8 million bounty on his head. He was arrested in 2017 for crimes of multiple murder, double frustrated murder, rebellion, and attempted murder. He is listed number 26 in the DND-DILG Joint Order on Rewards.
Cortez was also involved in the burning of two dump trucks of Philex Mining Corporation in Sitio Tapak, Barangay Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet on 9 February 2017.
Also killed in joint AFP-Philippine National Police operations was Deomedes Apinado who had a P2.2 million bounty for his capture. He was wanted for four counts of murder. Number 73 in the most-wanted list, Apinado was killed in an encounter in April 2017.
Other CNT leaders arrested were Mauricio Sagun with a P1.7 million bounty and Jaime Soledad with a P550,000 reward on his head. Sagun is wanted for murder and is listed number 85 while Soledad is wanted for 15 counts of murder and is number 73 in the most-wanted list.
Madrigal said monetary rewards are given to any person who furnishes information leading to the surrender, arrest, capture or neutralization of wanted persons for involvement in several grave offenses such as murder and kidnapping.
“While the AFP sustains its focused military operations against CNTs and other local terrorist groups, it calls for the continuous cooperation of the people as peace, security and the fight against terrorism is a shared responsibility of every Filipino,” Madrigal said.
“We should all do our part, including you, our friends in the media, in this whole of nation approach towards peace and development. Nevertheless, we, in the AFP will exert every effort to preserve peace and security in the entirety of the Philippine archipelago,” he added.