The still unidentified whistleblower who exposed the alleged bribery of a government official to protect the operations of a REPA administrator has gone into hiding out of fear of retribution, said Provincial Board (PB) Member Victor Balite who has been the witness’s primary contact.
The informant whose whereabouts remained unknown, even to Balite, asked for a security detail after receiving death threats and days prior to supposedly appearing before the PB’s committee on peace order to reveal the identity of the alleged REPA protector.
“Nagtago-tago ni siya kay gahapon sa hapon naka-receive ko niya og text message na niingon siya na ‘BM huhuhu’ naglisod na kuno siya pag-ayo kay medyo init na kuno kaayo and there was even a death threat para niya og sa iyang pamilya,” said Balite in an interview over station dyRD on Monday.
“I even asked og aha na siya karon hantod karon wa pa siya mo reply,” he added.
Balite said that during his previous personal meeting with the informant, the person expressed determination to appear before the committee to disclose further details on the REPA protector.
“Diha sa among pag-estorya dinha sa dakbayan sa Tagbilaran misulti gyud siya na ready ni siya he is very prepared siya na mo stand during committee meetings but then out of a sudden mura’g na threaten siya,” he said.
Balite however added that the whistleblower has been barely replying to his text messages after receiving threats.
According to Balite, the whistleblower has executed a sworn statement which may be used during the hearing even without the informant present during the proceedings.
The document was then left with the informant’s mother who Balite said he has not been able to speak with in over a week.
Not just P5 million
Balite also revealed that his informant was the one who paid the government official in exchange for protection.
He noted that the whistleblower showed to him the mobile number of the REPA protector and this was immediately traced by the lawmaker to be the contact of a government official.
“There was even somebody na nanawag niya unya gipatan-aw namo sa iyang cellphone kung kinsa ang nanawag and very identified pud kaayo tong usa na nitawag niya,” said Balite.
The lawmaker admitted to knowing the owner of the mobile number but refused to divulge the identity as he preferred for the disclosure to be made through the whistleblower’s sworn statement.
Balite has also clarified that the alleged money offered to the government official for protection amounted to P50 million, not just P5 million which was what the provincial lawmaker initially revealed.
He also noted that the amount could have been divided among multiple government officials, not just one.
“Sa iyang gisulti gyud nako it is not actually P5 million matud pa niya, it is P50 million,” Balite said. “I don’t know kung usa ra ba ang nangayo ana basin og ubay-ubay sila mao ingon ana pud siguro kadak-a.”
Balite explained his “close friend,” the person who introduced him to the whistleblower, was the one who initially claimed that the protection money amounted to P5 million. But this was later clarified by informant who noted that the payment reached P50 million.
In the same live interview, Balite called on the informant to instead leave the sworn statement with another trusted individual and the legislator will retrieve it himself so the document may be used during the committee hearing.
“Ako gahanyo sa atong whistleblower na kung mahimo, og di gyud pwede na magkakita ta, ibilin nalang sa entrusted person nimo ang imohang sworn statement pwede nana na dili ka mo attend during committee meeting,” Balite said.
According to Balite, he has requested for the second time the postponement of the committee hearing on the issue due to the informant’s situation.
The first hearing was first scheduled on November 25 then it was moved supposedly to this week. (R. Tutas)