P20 million in reward money unaccounted for?
MANILA - House lawmakers on Wednesday questioned police officials on the disbursement of the P35 million reward money raised for the capture of the suspects in the murder of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe.
In a briefing before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, Philippine National Police - Criminal Investigation and Detection Group's Napoleon Coronel told lawmakers that P35 million was raised for the capture of Batocabe’s killers, of which P2 million came from Albay’s local government unit and disbursed to the Albay Provincial Police Office.
The Albay Police Provincial Office’s head then disbursed the amount to witnesses and informants.
Coronel also said that the P13 million from the House was released to the PNP Intelligence Group and CIDG last January, after which it was distributed in various amounts to 8 individuals. On the other hand, P20 million from the Office of the President was disbursed to then head of the PNP Oscar Albayalde, who submitted the liquidation of that amount to the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel, however, pointed out that P20 million of the funds could not be accounted for after Coronel said that one witness got P6 million, and 7 other witnesses got a share from P7 million in varying amounts. He pointed out that the total reward money was P33 million.
"They gave to (witness) P6 million and the 7 witnesses they gave P7 million, a total of P13 million. There is still a shortfall of P20 million. Saan napunta 'yung P20 million (Where did the P20 million go)?”
Coronel then directed them to the OP, as well as the national headquarters of the PNP.
“I think this will relate to the amount released by the OP and the records of the distribution and liquidation of which were submitted directly to the OP and I don’t have the records. It did not pass through the CIDG. I understand HQ PNP is aware of the distribution of the money to the different personalities,” Coronel said.
Pimentel believes there is an attempt to conceal the fate of the money.
“I do not believe ‘di nila alam. Very clear, tinatago nila. It was liquidated bakit sinubmit nila sa office tapos wala silang records that is impossible," he said.
Pimentel said he also wanted to compel Albayalde to attend the next hearing.
“Let us issue a show cause order and eventually we will cite him for contempt for not appearing and have him arrested. Marami na nga siyang problema ‘di pa siya sumipot ngayon. This is already an insult to our inquiry. He’s taking this for granted. Very important ito, he is liable,” said Pimentel.