MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Saturday challenged a lawmaker to substantiate his claims that some government officials may have pocketed part of the reward money for the capture of top officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte questioned the basis of Bayan Muna Rep. Isagani Zarate in claiming secretaries Voltaire Gazmin (defense) and Manuel Roxas II (interior) may have kept part of the money.
“We don’t know what the basis is for that and I have not seen the good congressman make any statement (kung) ano ang basehan at ano ba yan,” Valte said on government-run dzRB radio.
“We’re certain that is not true,” she added.
A report on Manila Standard Today had quoted Zarate as saying the two secretaries may have kept almost half of the reward money for the arrest of Wilma and Benito Tiamzon.
Zarate claimed documents from the Defense and Interior Departments showed the bounty for the Tiamzon couple was pegged at P10 million each, or P20 million total.
But he claimed the Armed Forces of the Philippines “understated” the amount and said the reward collected was P11.52 million, or P5.6 million per head.
Zarate said Gazmin and Roxas have been quiet about the AFP’s understated funds for reward money.
“This involves a total of P41.45 million, of which amount, the AFP claimed to have collected only some P22.4 million. So where is the rest of the reward money?” he said.(MNS)