By Jose Cielito Reganit

REWARD. Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co (3rd from left), along with Speaker Martin Romualdez (center), turns over a personal reward of PHP10 million to officers of the Philippine National Police at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on Monday (Feb. 26, 2024). Co gave the reward in recognition of the bravery and sacrifices of police officers involved in the dismantling of the notorious Concepcion criminal group. (Photo courtesy of the office of Rep. Zaldy Co)

MANILA – Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co has personally awarded PHP10 million to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for dismantling the notorious Concepcion criminal group.

“Malaking bagay po ang pagka-neutralize ng Concepcion Gang (Neutralizing the Concepcion Gang is a major development). The crime group has been terrorizing the Bicol Region and other areas of the country for the longest time,” Co said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Ang ibinigay nating reward ay bilang pagkilala sa kabayanihan ng mga pulis na handang ialay ang kanilang buhay para lamang siguraduhin ang kaligtasan ng taumbayan (We gave the reward in recognition of the heroism of our police officers who are willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure the safety of the people). Our police officers’ bravery and sacrifices, who confront dangers to protect us, are deeply appreciated.”

Co, chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, earlier promised to give PHP10 million out of his pocket for the capture of the criminal and terrorist group.

He turned over the reward money to PNP officials at the House on Monday in the presence of Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Police operatives killed Gilbert Saysay Concepcion, also known as “Bert” or “Pogi,” the leader of the lawless organization, and Laeco Josie Quite Saysay, also known as “Lay,” a member of the group, during an armed encounter in Barangay San Martin De Porres, Parañaque City on Jan. 24.

The Concepcion criminal group has been engaged in various criminal activities, including assassinations, extortion, and illegal arms trade.

Co said the killing of Concepcion, who is one of the country’s most wanted criminals, and the dismantling of his criminal group signifies a “monumental win for the PNP and the broader quest for peace and order in the entire country.”

It also underscores the competence, perseverance, and courage of the involved police personnel, he said. (PNA)