GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/06 March) — Sarangani officials have put up an initial P500,000 in reward money for information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects and possible masterminds in the ambush on Friday last week that led to the fatal cardiac arrest of the mayor of Maitum town.
Glan Mayor Victor James Yap, president of the province’s League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) chapter, said Thursday they raised the reward money to help speed up the resolution of the ambush on Maitum Mayor George McPherson Perrett, who died in a private hospital here several hours after the attack.
“This could encourage the possible witnesses to come forward and help resolve the case,” Yap told reporters.
The mayor said they were able to raise some P300,000 out of the LMP chapter’s funds and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao contributed an additional P200,000 from his own resources for the reward money.
Perrett is a close ally and party mate of Pacquiao in the People’s Champ Movement (PCM), a local political party founded by the boxing icon.
Yap said they are ready to give the reward money any time to any tipster or witness who could positively identify all those involved and behind the ambush.
“They can approach me or any of our police officials. We can provide them proper security and they can remain anonymous in the course of the proceedings,” he said.
Perrett, his wife Elsie and five aides were on their way home to Barangay Kalaneg in Maitum at around 10:30 p.m. last Friday when they were ambushed by unidentified gunmen.
The mayor and his companions attended an arts and culture event in the town proper of Maitum and were on their way home when the incident happened.
The mayor, who was then driving their Toyota Fortuner sports utility vehicle, and another aide were hit on the leg but Elsie, who is a former three-term mayor of Maitum, and their four other companions were unharmed.
Perrett was rushed to the St. Elizabeth Hospital here for treatment but died of cardiac arrest due to severe loss of blood at around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, had formed Special Investigation Task Group Perrett to hasten the ongoing probe of the incident.
He refused to speculate on the motive of the attack and the identity of the suspects as well as possible masterminds pending the ongoing investigation but said the task force is already verifying some potential leads that could help resolve the case.
Meantime, Pacquiao reiterated his calls to police authorities on Thursday to hasten their probe and resolve the case the soonest possible time.
The congressman, who earlier directed the Sarangani Provincial Police Office to come up with possible leads on the case within one week, made the call after Perrett was laid to rest on Thursday morning near their residence in Barangay Kalaneg.
Among those who paid their last respects to the late mayor were his close friends Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Cesar Jalosjos, former congressman Romeo Jalosjos, Tantangan, South Cotabato Mayor, Benjamin Figueroa Jr. and Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian-Solon and other provincial officials. (MindaNews)