New Philippine mayor to pay bounties

The Heritage of Cebu Monument in Pari-an, Cebu. Source: Wikimedia

The mayor-elect of the Philippine city of Cebu says he will pay bounties to those who kill wanted criminals.

Tomas Osmena said he would pay police officers US$1,060 for each criminal executed and US$106 for those wounded.

He has already rewarded an off-duty officer who shot at and injured two suspects when he came across a robbery.

Officer Julius Sadaya Regis was off duty when he happened upon a robbery and he shot two of them and received his reward from the mayor.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who has promised to wipe out crime, has made similar remarks.

During Duterte’s reign as Davao mayor, death squads were blamed for the execution of more than 1,000 criminal suspects and drug dealers.

Osmena, the grandson of a former president, will take control of the country’s fifth largest city.

“If you kill a criminal in the line of duty, you’ll be rewarded, no questions asked,” he told the media. “I’m there to assist the police, not to prosecute them.

“[It] is my purpose to instil fear in the criminals. If they want to commit crimes, they get into war with me. I will see to it that they will be casualties. I’m not going to suppress vigilantes.”

Osmena, who won the mayoral elections two weeks ago, reminded overenthusiastic vigilantes that any killing must be legal, with a licensed firearm.

Civilians who came to the rescue and shot a robber would be rewarded, he said.

“What is important is that the robbers will be scared,” Osmena said. “I am just giving them a warning.”

The new mayor said he did not fear encouraging vigilantes.

“I will not compromise the safety of our people,” Osmena said. “I will defend them. I don’t care who gets in the way.”

Duterte won the Philippines’ presidential election earlier this month after vowing to oversee the slaughter of tens of thousands of criminals.

“Duterte Harry” said he would bring back the death penalty, adding that he preferred hanging.

His years as mayor of the once-lawless southern city of Davao earned him the nickname “the Punisher” and he was seen as a refreshingly honest change from the political elite that has dominated Philippine politics.

Another popular hero, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, sworn in as senator on Thursday, also wants a return to the death penalty, adding that he would support Duterte’s plans.

“Actually God allows this in the Bible,” the boxer said.