The Daily Manila Shimbun


(UPDATE) Duterte vows “severe” correction over Korean murder, but not at the expense of PNP chief

January 30, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged on Sunday night the government has to correct "severely" the problem that led to the murder of a South Korean businessman, but not at the expense of the police chief.

Duterte personally assured on Monday to the widow of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo that justice would be served.

Duterte met Jee's wife, Choi kyung-jin, who was accompanied by South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae-Shin in Malacanang.

"The President gave his assurance to the widow of slain South Korean businessman that justice would be swiftly served, and that their personal safety would be assured," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a text message to reporters.

Jee was abducted in Angeles City and was reportedly killed inside Camp Crame by rogue policemen in October last year. His ashes were allegedly flushed into the toilet bowl of a crematorium in Caloocan City.

Facing the media in a press conference, Duterte said Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa has offered to quit amid criticisms against him for maintaining the police chief and even joining his birthday party.

He said the place where Jee was allegedly strangled to death by some rogue policemen was "just incidental" for he could have been killed in other places

He said perpetrating the crime inside Camp Came "is really bad."

"And we admit that and that something has to be corrected severely. But to sacrifice Bato (Dela Rosa)...I was just facing the reality that nothing good will be achieved if I will remove Bato and more reason for us to do more," he said.

"And the more correct way to do it, if I may say so, is to go after the persons who have perpetrated the crime. It's them because crime is personal," said Duterte, who was joined by Dela Rosa and other government officials in the press conference.

He explained why he did not react when the reports of Jee's murder came out.

"I was waiting for everybody to come out," he said.

It was only last week that Duterte made a statement, apologizing to the South Korean government and to its people for what had happened to Jee.

During the start of the press conference, Duterte warned Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, one of the suspects in Jee's murder, to surrender or he would offer P5 million bounty for anyone who could get him whether "dead or alive."

But in the middle of the press conference, Dela Rosa informed Duterte Dumlao has offered to be taken into police custody.

Duterte also offered P1 million reward to capture two agents of the National Bureau of Investigation who were also allegedly involved in the crime.

He warned NBI Director Dante Gierran he would remove him from his post if he could not produce the two NBI suspects.

He recalled when he was interviewing Gierran for the position, he asked the latter if he could kill an erring NBI agent.

"You answered me, 'Yes, sir.' So I will collect your guarantee to me. They are your assets. You know where they are," he said as he gave 48 hours to produce the suspects.

He said all suspects could have equal responsibility because what they committed was conspiracy

Duterte noted that Jee's murder was serious and it has "international implications."

Duterte also ordered Dela Rosa to review all the cases of those  policemen whose charges from engaging illegal activities were dismissed in different courts and later were reinstated in the service.

He expressed belief these policemen were just reinstated because their cases did not prosper after no more witnesses wanted to testify or they paid the judges.

Duterte said he would send them to areas in Mindanao, such as Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga City and Lanao del Sur to reinforce the military fighting the terrorists. Celerina Monte/DMS