The newly elected mayor of Cebu City has an innovative approach to crime control in this central Philippine city: A 50,000 peso (US$1,080) bounty for each “criminal” killed by his police force.
Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña announced on May 16 that he would pay that sum to any police officer who “legally” kills a “drug lord, robber, or any criminal” in the line of duty. Osmeña didn’t specify how police would determine the legality of such killings or the identity of the suspects. He justified the bounty as an “extra source of livelihood” for Cebu City police.
Osmeña’s comments may only be post-election bombast. But he has a troubling history of exhorting summary killings of criminal suspects. During a previous tenure as Cebu City mayor in 2005, Osmeña told police: “Go ahead, pull the trigger. As mayor, my warning to anybody doing a crime is I will see to it that you’ll be dead on the spot. If we catch you, you will be so sorry – you won’t be around.”