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Cebu offers reward for killing criminals

Mayor-elect of Cebu City Tomas Osmeña, who bested incumbent Mayor Michael Rama in the May 9 elections, emphasized that any killing must be legal and the gun used licensed. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - Inspired by incoming president Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor-elect of Cebu City is offering police and residents a reward for killing or wounding criminals.

“The reward is P5,000 for wounding a criminal and P50,000 for a dead criminal,” Tomas Osmeña said yesterday as he handed over money to Police Officer 3 Julius Sadaya Regis, who while off-duty and on his motorcycle chanced upon a robbery in a passenger jeepney last Tuesday.

As three of the robbers fled, Regis opened fire, wounding two of them.

Osmeña, who bested incumbent Mayor Michael Rama in the May 9 elections, emphasized that any killing must be legal and the gun used licensed.

An example, he said, is if there is an ongoing robbery and civilians who come to the rescue shoot the robber.

“To get the P50,000, the criminal should be dead,” Osmeña said. “What is important is that the robbers will be scared. I am just giving them a warning.”

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The mayor-elect would not say where the reward money would come from, except that it would not be from city government funds.

He said he did not care if the reward would encourage vigilantism. “I will not compromise the safety of our people. I will defend them. I don’t care who gets in the way,” Osmeña said.

Rama, Vice Mayor Edgar Labella and 12 city councilors were placed under administrative suspension last Tuesday over the controversial release of calamity aid in 2013.

Osmeña’s wife, Councilor Margarita Osmeña, who was not included in the suspension by Malacañang, is acting as mayor of Cebu until June 30 when her husband assumes his post.

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