Press Release
June 1, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today asked whether the act of American diplomatic officials in handling reward money to tipsters of wanted criminal elements in full view of the media is in conformity with Philippine laws, international laws or diplomatic conventions.

Pimentel raised this question in reaction to media reports complete with photos to the awarding by United States embassy officials of bounty to two Filipinos who gave information to authorities that led to the arrest of Hilario del Rosario Santos III, also known as Ahmed Islam Santos, alleged head of the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM) in Zamboanga City, last October. The turnover of the reward money was held at the US embassy in Manila Wednesday.

The RSM is a group of Christian converts to Islam that is reportedly associated with Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups abroad.

My impression is that the intention of the Americans is good. There is no question about it. But is it in accord with international laws or conventions for foreign embassies to show publicly their hands in the attempt to implement law and order in the territory of their host country? Pimentel said.

Or is that a right accorded only to superpowers who might want to assert it as a prerogative?

Pimentel said while the efforts of the US government in helping the countrys counter-terrorist campaign is good, something was wrong with the manner by which the reward money to informants was being handed out.

That the Americans gave the reward money directly to the informants at the US Embassy speaks volumes about their lack of trust for the top Echelon of the AFP, the minority leader said.

We raise that question so that Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs may clarify it, he added.

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