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POPE FRANCIS VOWS TO BLESS PHL, DUTERTE
[RELATED: CBCP exec welcomes proposed dialogue with Duterte]


JANUARY 20 -“When I had the opportunity of kissing the hand of the Pope, I said, ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness,’ and his answer was, ‘Yes, I will also bless your president,‘” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a video clip in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican shown on television yesterday.
Pope Francis will bless the Philippines and President Duterte in a gesture of goodwill to a controversial figure known for his lurid lambasting of priests and bishops. “When I had the opportunity of kissing the hand of the Pope, I said, ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness,’ and his answer was, ‘Yes, I will also bless your president,‘” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a video clip in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican shown on television yesterday. Dureza is in Rome for peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front. READ MORE...RELATED,
CBCP exec welcomes proposed dialogue with Duterte ...

ALSO: Ceasefire takes center stage Gov’t, local communists resume peace talks in Rome today
[RELATED: PH, NDFP sign guidelines on rights violation complaints]


JANUARY 20 -Rome, Italy – The Philippine government (GPH) will be pressing for an unprecedented joint ceasefire agreement with the National Democratic Front (NDF) which, in turn, is expected to demand for the immediate release of imprisoned female, sick, or elderly comrades as the third round of the peace negotiations between the two parties start at 10 a.m. (5 p.m., Manila time) today at the Holiday Inn Rome-Eur Parco del Medici here.  “(The joint ceasefire) is what we have our eyes on. To get an agreement signed, for both sides to agree and stop fighting is our No. 1 marching order from President Duterte,” said labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, GPH peace panel chairman. READ MORE...RELATED,
PH, NDFP sign guidelines on rights violation complaints ...

ALSO: Korean killed in Camp Crame - 2 cops, 5 others face kidnap, murder raps; 'Bato', ashamed, apologizes to Korean govt
[Police office Suspect in Korean’s killing wants to be state witness]


JANUARY 20 -EVIDENCE ARRANGED. Anti-Kidnapping Group Legal Officer Supt. Dennis Wagas presents Thursday a set of golf clubs allegedly used as payment to Gerardo Santiago, owner of the funeral home (below) where it is alleged the body of the kidnapped South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was stored. Inset is SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who surrendered to the NBI. Manny Palmero/Jojo Rabulan 

HANJIN executive Jee Ick Joo was strangled right inside the Philippine National Police’s Camp Crame headquarters in Quezon City last October, investigators revealed Thursday as the Justice department approved charges against two policemen and five others. Charged were Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four others identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding.” Prosecutors said none of the respondents were able to submit any evidence denying their participation in the crime. READ MORE...RELATED,
Suspect in Korean’s killing wants to be state witness...

ALSO: DoJ orders raps on cops in South Korean businessman’s slay
[RELATED: 'Bato' dela Rosa  ready to resign]


JANUARY 20 -Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean businessman
SOUTH KOREAN GOV’T WANTS JUSTICE FOR SLAIN NATIONAL The South Korean government yesterday demanded justice for Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean businessman who is a long-time resident of the Philippines and who was kidnapped for ransom and killed, with the victim’s body cremated by Philippine National Police (PNP) officers and their subordinates. Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and his National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) acted quickly to provide the South Korean national the justice he deserved, ordering criminal cases against them, while PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa was appalled and angry that policemen under his command committed the crime and even went to the extent of trying to cover up the crime by getting the the South Korean’s body cremated in a crematorium.In a Palace press conference, dela Rosa said the killing of Ick-Joo Yee who was missing, killed and cremated and whose ashes were flushed down in a toilet bowl in a funeral parlor in Caloocan City is one glaring proof that there is a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group composed of PNP officials that existed and were tolerated by previous administrations. READ MORE...RELATED, Bato ready to resign...

ALSO: House Speaker says Bato should quit over Korean’s kidnap
[RELATED ON TARGET By Ramon Tulfo: For Bato, there’s no other way]


JANUARY 21 -Dela Rosa
For being clueless about a brutal crime committed under his nose and right inside his headquarters, Philippine National Police chief Director Ronald dela Rosa should immediately relinquish his post, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said yesterday, referring to the kidnap-slaying of a South Korean national by his police captors. “The commission of a heinous crime right under his very nose is not only an insult but a clear indication that he has lost the respect of his people,” the Davao del Norte congressman, a staunch ally of President Duterte, said. In response to calls for his resignation by netizens, Dela Rosa said he is leaving his fate to the President. In seeking Dela Rosa’s replacement, the Speaker even cited a TV recording of the national police chief in December 2016 showing him running away from a press briefing “like a headless chicken after a pyrotechnic device he was holding started to smoke.” READ MORE...RELATED, ON TARGET By Ramon Tulfo: For Bato, there’s no other way ...


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‘Pope Francis vows to bless Phl, Duterte


JANUARY 20 -“When I had the opportunity of kissing the hand of the Pope, I said, ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness,’ and his answer was, ‘Yes, I will also bless your president,‘” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a video clip in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican shown on television yesterday.

MANILA, JANUARY 23, 2016 (IPHILSTAR)  By Evelyn Macairan January 20, 2017 - Pope Francis will bless the Philippines and President Duterte in a gesture of goodwill to a controversial figure known for his lurid lambasting of priests and bishops.

“When I had the opportunity of kissing the hand of the Pope, I said, ‘Bless the Philippines, Your Holiness,’ and his answer was, ‘Yes, I will also bless your president,‘” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza said in a video clip in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican shown on television yesterday.

Dureza is in Rome for peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front.

READ MORE...

He met the Pope at the Vatican and delivered a letter from Duterte thanking him for his 2015 visit to the Philippines, which has Asia’s biggest Catholic population.

Duterte famously uttered “son of a b***h” in Filipino when the Pope’s visit caused traffic snarl-ups. He has since apologized and said his remark was aimed at incompetent officials.

The Philippine firebrand has often targeted priests at home, especially those critical of his deadly war on drugs.

On Wednesday, he accused several unnamed priests of having multiple marriages and suggested they try shabu, the crude methamphetamine at the heart of the crackdown, so they could experience its effects.

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

CBCP exec welcomes proposed dialogue with Duterte Philippine Daily Inquirer / 06:12 PM January 21, 2017


Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA). Fr.Jerome R. Secillano, executive secretary

An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has welcomed Malacanang’s openness to seeking a dialogue following President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the Catholic Church.

However, the matter of whether the Church will sit down for a talk with the President is a matter to be decided by not just one, but majority of the country’s bishops.

Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, noted a dialogue is a good move to discuss solutions to the problem of illegal drugs.

“It would be prudent for both sides to really sit together and take a collective action on how to legally, ethically and morally address at least the drug problem in our country,” Secillano said.

The CBCP official made the comment in reaction to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella’s statement that they are open to a dialogue with the bishops, after Duterte’s rants against the Church.

READ: Palace: Duterte’s tirade not ‘anti-Catholic’

Last week, the President attacked the Catholic Church anew for its criticisms on the issue of extra-judicial killings amidst the government’s bloody war against illegal dugs.

Duterte slammed the priests and bishops as corrupt, bringing up old scandals like the issue of bishops who allegedly asked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for luxury vehicles.

READ: Duterte hits Church: You have no moral ascendancy

He also questioned the Church’s failure to explain how it uses the donations it receives in Masses, and the alleged molestation cases happening inside seminaries.

He even challenged priests to try taking shabu so that they could understand the extent of the country’s illegal drugs problem.

However, the CBCP’s bishops have declined to directly answer Duterte’s tirades against the Church.

Following the attacks, Abella said he was willing to act as an emissary should the President and the bishops decide to sit down for a talk.

Secillano noted that while openness to a dialogue is good, the decision to sit down and talk should be made not just by one but majority of the country’s bishops.

“It’s a good thing that the Palace has taken that initiative… But we cannot predict though the decision of the Church’s hierarchy because it has to be collegial,” he said.

Bishops are scheduled to meet from January 25 to 30 for the CBCP’s plenary assembly, during which the issue might be tackled.

Secillano noted that a dialogue is a good thing “if only for the bickering to stop and not further inflict undue harm on each other which has caused division.”


MANILA BULLETIN

Ceasefire takes center stage Gov’t, local communists resume peace talks in Rome today 1 SHARES Share it! Published January 20, 2017, 12:11 AM by Rocky Nazareno

Rome, Italy – The Philippine government (GPH) will be pressing for an unprecedented joint ceasefire agreement with the National Democratic Front (NDF) which, in turn, is expected to demand for the immediate release of imprisoned female, sick, or elderly comrades as the third round of the peace negotiations between the two parties start at 10 a.m. (5 p.m., Manila time) today at the Holiday Inn Rome-Eur Parco del Medici here.

“(The joint ceasefire) is what we have our eyes on. To get an agreement signed, for both sides to agree and stop fighting is our No. 1 marching order from President Duterte,” said labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, GPH peace panel chairman.

READ MORE...

In fact, Bello pointed out that the moment Duterte sees that an official declaration of ceasefire by both sides has been signed, the President would immediately order the release of more political prisoners.

As of yesterday afternoon, the NDF has only shown little signs that it was warming up to the quid pro quo offer by the GRP.

But before the start of formal talks, Gabriela Philippines – through Gabriela Italy – will be presenting the “women’s agenda” in the negotiations.

The GPH and the NDF have been steadfast in their requests and demands in the last few months since the second round of negotiations was held last October in Oslo, Norway. All that posturing will come to a head in this third round of the peace talks in efforts to end 47 years of communist insurgency in the Philippines.

After the usual opening speeches by heads of both panels, as well as officials of the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) – the official third party facilitator of the talks – the negotiators will buckle down to business with a panel (plenary) meeting in the afternoon that will tackle the release of 122 sickly, 34 women, and 30 elderly communist insurgents from prison.

Likewise to be tackled on opening day is the appeal of the NDF for the GPH to honor its commitment to release three prisoners certified as the leftist group’s consultants, or those protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). T

hey are Eduardo Sarmiento, Emeterio Antalan, and Leopoldo Caloza. The three were expected to be freed by the government to join the 22 others – among them New People’s Army (NPA) stalwarts Benito and Wilma Tiamzon – who had earlier been released to act as consultants in the current talks.

NDF peace panel chairman Fidel Agcaoili said the NDF will also raise the matter of continuous surveillance being conducted by the police and military on the 22 NDF consultants.

The amnesty that will be granted on communist insurgents will also be on the table.

While Agcaoili acknowledged that the declaration of the unilateral ceasefire was unprecedented in the more than four decades of peace negotiations, he nevertheless rued that “military and police forces continue with their military operations against communities suspected to be under the control of, influenced by, or sympathetic to, the revolutionary movement on the pretext of conducting so-called peace and development projects.”

He cited the case of the military’s Project: Bayanihan, which is apparently a community outreach program being conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in the hinterlands of Mindanao, Ifugao, Cagayan, the Negros provinces, Masbate, and Bicol.

Agcaoili said government forces “occupy schools, health and day-care centers, barangay halls, public plazas, and even bus stops and private residences in more than 43 provinces and 146 municipalities all over the country.”

The NDF panel chair added that the leftist group had already documented a total of 86 violations of the unilateral ceasefire imposed by the government on its forces since January 4.

Together with the continued incarceration of the political prisoners, Agcaoili said the continued military and police presence in these places constitutes a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Law (CAHRIL), which the GPH agreed to adopt at the start of the formal talks last August.

“Hindi naman dapat na sila na lang ang laging tama (They’re not supposed to be always right, all the time),” Agcaoili said.

Despite these misgivings from their counterparts, the GPH team appeared calm and confident as back-channeling efforts lasted well into late Wednesday night for the travel-weary negotiators.

Particularly upbeat was Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza, who said he was hoping that both sides would again be able to forge a milestone agreement before the third round ends on January 25.

Dureza comes into the talks buoyed by a special audience granted him by Pope Francis Wednesday morning at the Vatican where he presented the Pontiff with a letter from President Duterte, which stated that “the Philippines values its special relations with the Holy See and regards with gratitude (Pope Francis’) gracious stewardship of the Catholic faith.”

Meanwhile, even before the talks could start, the Philippine contingent, particularly the media group covering the talks, was momentarily left in shock after thieves ran off with the belongings of ABS-CBN Europe bureau chief Danny Buenafe and Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) media officer Edwin Espejo.

What lent more alarm to the caper was that it was pulled off right at the lobby of the Holiday Inn Rome-Eur Parco del Medici, while Espejo and other OPAPP staff were still waiting for clearance to check into their rooms.

Buenafe, who had left his bag containing his credit cards, was then conducting an interview with Agcaoili together with other Philippine-based mediamen when a commotion occurred after Espejo and another OPAPP staffer were seen running after four male locals.

It was only after Espejo returned to the lobby after an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve his belongings, which included a laptop and professional camera, that he informed Buenafe that his bag was among those stolen by the thieves.

-------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

PH, NDFP sign guidelines on rights violation complaints By: Karlos Manlupig - Correspondent / @kmanlupigINQ Inquirer Mindanao / 09:23 PM January 21, 2017


Chief peace negotiators Fidel Agcaoili of the NDFP and Silvestre Bello III of the Philippine government shake hands after signing the supplemental guidelines. Looking on is Elisabeth Slattum, Norwegian special envoy. (Photo by KARLO MANLUPIG/Inquirer Mindandao)

ROME, Italy — The Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have just signed the supplemental guidelines of the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), considered as one of the major gains in the third round of talks, which are taking place here in the Italian capital.

Fidel Agcaoili, peace panel chair of the NDFP, said on Saturday that the document had been in the making since 2007 but had been hampered by the intermittent talks and many unresolved issues, including the spiraling of human rights abuses in the past administration.

Agcaoili said that the supplemental guidelines would help make it easier and faster to process complaints of violations to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRHIL).

The supplemental guidelines would also help in laying down the mechanisms how the complaints will be dealt by the parties.

The agreement was signed in 1998, but it’s only now that the processing of complaints will be implemented.

“The full operation of the Joint Monitoring Committee with its supplemental guidelines in place should not be difficult under our legal regime that includes new and bold laws and statutes upholding human rights and international humanitarian laws, such as the law against enforced disappearance, anti-torture act, IHL act, Human Security Act, Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Kalikasan, among others,” Silvestre Bello III, chief government negotiator, said.

Bello said that the signing was an affirmation of commitment of President Rodrigo Duterte to the international humanitarian law as a component of the peace process.

In a copy of the supplemental guidelines obtained by the Inquirer, the document has 10 articles:

Purpose and coverage
Mandate of the JMC
Complaints
Other documents and information
Receipt and action on the complaints, documents and information
Protection of victims, witnesses, complainants and the confidentiality of information
Meetings and communications of JMC
Functions of the joint secretariat
Role of the third party facilitator
Amendments

But both parties are now optimistic that there would be better relations and conditions to handle and resolve complaints to create a better atmosphere not just to end the conflict but also to address the injustices that happened in the past. /ATM


MANILA STANDARD

Korean killed in Camp Crame: 2 cops, 5 others face kidnap, murder raps posted January 20, 2017 at 12:01 am by Francisco Tuyay and Rey E. Requejo, John Paolo Bencito, Sara Susanne D. Fabunan


EVIDENCE ARRANGED. Anti-Kidnapping Group Legal Officer Supt. Dennis Wagas presents Thursday a set of golf clubs allegedly used as payment to Gerardo Santiago, owner of the funeral home (below) where it is alleged the body of the kidnapped South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was stored. Inset is SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who surrendered to the NBI. Manny Palmero/Jojo Rabulan

HANJIN executive Jee Ick Joo was strangled right inside the Philippine National Police’s Camp Crame headquarters in Quezon City last October, investigators revealed Thursday as the Justice department approved charges against two policemen and five others.

Charged were Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four others identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding.”

Prosecutors said none of the respondents were able to submit any evidence denying their participation in the crime.

READ MORE...

A preliminary investigation conducted by the Justice department showed that Jee, together with house help Marisa D. Morquicho, was taken by two unidentified men from his house in Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016.

In her affidavit, Morquicho said the men introduced themselves as police officers and ordered her to accompany them to Jee’s room.

The house help said the accused later told her that her employer was involved in illegal drug activities.

Upon arrival at Camp Crame, Morquicho said she was transferred to Sta. Isabel’s car and eventually released.

PO2 Christopher Baldovino said in his affidavit that he was part of the surveillance operation that was conducted before Jee’s abduction.

“He joined the operation as he believed then that the operation was a legitimate police operation against the herein victim who, according to respondent Sta. Isabel, was involved in illegal drugs,” the Justice department resolution stated.

In his affidavit, Villegas said while inside Camp Crame, he heard Sta. Isabel talking to a certain “Sir “Dumlao” where he overheard him say: “Sir ang alam ko ay kilala nyo ang mga taong ito dahil ang pagkakaalam ko ay sanction niyo ito.” (Sir, I know that you know these people and that that you’ve sanctioned this.”)

He also said that Sta. Isabel was the one who brought packaging tape and surgical gloves and ordered them to cover the head of the victim and follow him instead of Dumlao.

“He finally recalls seeing respondent Sta. Isabel strangling and killing the victim,” the resolution said.

After the victim was killed, Villegas said Sta. Isabel called a certain “Ding” who agreed to receive the body in exchange for P30,000 and a golf set.

Then, the body was brought to the funeral parlor in Caloocan.

“He reiterates that he thought all along that the surveillance and police operations which he participated in are legitimate police operations,” Villegas claimed.

“When he realized it, he did not resist and instead, he obeyed the instruction of respondent Sta. Isabel for fear of his life and that of his family,” the same resolution said.

The Justice department said the respondents failed to counter the evidence against them as well as the testimonies of Morquicho, the victim’s wife Kyungjin Choi and the admission made by Villegas and Baldovino.

“Until now, no controverting evidence was filed by any of the respondents despite the opportunity given to them,” the resolution said.

Despite Villegas’ claim that Sta. Isabel was the one who strangled Jee, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Wednesday he could become a state witness.

Aguirre said Sta. Isabel can be under the coverage of the government’s witness protection program because he knows everything about the incident after he confessed his participation in the crime and pinpointed other police officers involved.

Aguirre added that Sta. Isabel, who is currently under protective custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, has given details to probers during his interrogation.

He declined, however, to say what Sta. Isabel’s version of events was, but said he implicated a “higher official” in the PNP.

Aguirre also said the Embassy of the Republic of Korea has sought his assistance in the case, and that he would give them updates on the ongoing NBI investigation.


EVIDENCE ARRANGED. Anti-Kidnapping Group Legal Officer Supt. Dennis Wagas presents Thursday a set of golf clubs allegedly used as payment to Gerardo Santiago, owner of the funeral home (below) where it is alleged the body of the kidnapped South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was stored. Inset is SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who surrendered to the NBI. Manny Palmero/Jojo Rabulan

Five employees of Gream Funeral Services in Bagbag, Caloocan City, are now with the NBI and are undergoing questioning after it was confirmed that the missing Korean national was taken to them on the same day of his abduction and murder last year.

On Tuesday evening, the NBI, together with the Caloocan police went to the funeral parlor after receiving information that the body of Jee Ick Joo, a former executive at shipbuilding firm Hanjin was taken to the funeral parlor the same day he was abducted.

His body could not be found, however, and investigators later learned that Jee’s body had been cremated.

Aguirre vowed to expedite the resolution of the case.

Aside from Sta. Isabel, eight others are implicated in the abduction of Jee.

Supt. Dennis Wagas, legal officer of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, said the golf set owned by Jee was found in the property of Gerardo Gregorio Santiago, a retired policeman and the proprietor of Gream Funeral Services in Caloocan City.

Wagas said, based on the initial investigation, the set of golf clubs, valued at over P100,000 was brought to the funeral parlor as payment for the safe keeping of Jee’s body.

Police are still looking for Santiago, who was said to have left for Canada.

Aguirre said they would coordinate with Interpol to locate Santiago.

Choi Kyunghin, wife of Jee, 53, said his husband was forcibly taken by eight armed men on Oct. 18 from his residence.

His family paid P5 million in ransom on Oct. 31 but he was never released.

The abductors asked for an additional P4 million but failed to produce a proof of life, prompting the family to seek police assistance.

Police were also still looking for Jee’s Ford Explorer, which remained missing.

In a statement released on Thursday, the South Korean Embassy expressed shock and deep regret over the killing of its citizen by the police.

“We call upon the Philippine authorities to thoroughly conduct the investigation so that the facts of the matter should be brought into light and that those responsible must be brought to justice,” the embassy said.

“We are very much shocked that an innocent Korean businessman became a victim in the heinous crime committed by a group led by police officers under the pretext of performing duties,” it added.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay met with South Korean Ambassador Kim Jae-Shin.

“I was not privy to what was discussed,” Jose said.

Jose said he did not think ties between the two countries would be hurt by the incident.

“We don’t expect the case to have a diplomatic fallout,” Jose said.

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa apologized to the South Korean government for letting the murder of Jee happen under his nose inside Camp Crame.

“I’m very angry. Very offended. I want to melt in shame. It happened inside Camp Crame. They got him in Caloocan, then brought him inside Camp Crame, and there he was killed. If I can just melt right now because of shame. I’m very ashamed,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

“I’m very sorry that this crime happened with my men involved [in this incident.] If this incident happened in Korea, their customs and traditions dictate that I should kill myself because of shame ... It’s very hard for me, I want to melt because of my men,” he added.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se demanded answers after receiving a phone call from Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. to inform him of the murder.

“Minister Yun, expressing grave shock over the implication of Philippine police officers in the case, asked that the Philippine government get to the bottom of the case and bring those responsible to justice,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Dela Rosa assured to the South Korean government that he would be give them a proper explanation “in due time.”

“We’re updating the Korean Embassy… We will give the whole explanation after everything is done,” he added.

Dela Rosa cited police reports that the South Korean’s cremated remains were flushed down the toilet.

“The employee of the funeral parlor said that they panicked. I don’t know how true is that, but they allegedly flushed down the ashes of the businessman inside the toilet bowl when policemen visited,” Dela Rosa said.

-----------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Suspect in Korean’s killing wants to be state witness By: Gil C. Cabacungan - Reporter / @gcabacunganINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer / 02:55 AM January 21, 2017


PRIMARY SUSPECT SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel escorted out of the NBI for transfer to Camp Crame –ALEXIS CORPUZ

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday that the police officer named as the key suspect in the abduction and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo has applied to turn state witness, saying he feared for his life under the custody of the Philippine National Police.

Aguirre said no decision had yet been made on the petition of SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, who had been staying at the National Bureau of Investigation until he was transferred to PNP headquarters on Friday. He is accused of leading a team of rogue officers who kidnapped Jee and then strangled him in October last year, and later extorted ransom from his wife.

He said Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta had moved to file a motion in court to appeal for Sta. Isabel’s return to the NBI.

“The wife made a formal request for PAO lawyers. He (Sta. Isabel) has no lawyer because his private lawyer withdrew due to death threats,” Aguirre said. He said the PAO lawyers would just review what Sta. Isabel had initially provided to his previous lawyer.

“It’s obvious that he wants to stay with the NBI. He fears somebody else and it’s not the NBI,” Aguirre said.

Since Sta. Isabel and the other suspects did not submit affidavits, their only option was to seek a reinvestigation to submit their statements before the Department of Justice (DOJ) handed down its resolution.

Acosta said the PAO would file a motion seeking Sta. Isabel’s return to NBI custody for “security reasons.” But it was too early to declare whether Sta. Isabel would be made a state witness because the DOJ-NBI was still investigating the case and Sta. Isabel’s culpability in Jee’s kidnapping and murder.


TRIBUNE

DoJ orders raps on cops in Sokor bizman’s slay Written by Tribune Wires Friday, 20 January 2017 00:00  By Benjamin B. Pulta and Julius Leonen


Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean businessman

SOUTH KOREAN GOV’T WANTS JUSTICE FOR SLAIN NATIONAL

The South Korean government yesterday demanded justice for Jee Ick Joo, the South Korean businessman who is a long-time resident of the Philippines and who was kidnapped for ransom and killed, with the victim’s body cremated by Philippine National Police (PNP) officers and their subordinates.

Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and his National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) acted quickly to provide the South Korean national the justice he deserved, ordering criminal cases against them, while PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa was appalled and angry that policemen under his command committed the crime and even went to the extent of trying to cover up the crime by getting the the South Korean’s body cremated in a crematorium.

In a Palace press conference, dela Rosa said the killing of Ick-Joo Yee who was missing, killed and cremated and whose ashes were flushed down in a toilet bowl in a funeral parlor in Caloocan City is one glaring proof that there is a kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group composed of PNP officials that existed and were tolerated by previous administrations.

READ MORE...

“Apparently, this has been going on in kidnap-murder cases for sometime through cremation, which is why even when ransom is paid, the kidnap victim’s body is never recovered,” an emotional dela Rosa told reporters yesterday.

The PNP Chief did not deny that Yee was killed inside the PNP Headquarters which is why, if possible, he really wants to avenge the Korean victim by killing policemen involved in the abduction incident.

“I am very angry. Very offended...I am filled with shame over the fact that this killing happened inside Camp Crame. They (kidnappers) abducted the victim in Caloocan then brought the victim to Camp Crame where he was killed. This is a shameful act by police officers,” dela Rosa said.

“If I had my way, I will kill all of you who kidnap for ransom and kill the victim,” he warned the offenders.
Top PNP officers, 5 others, tagged

Two high ranking policemen along with five others have been criminally charged with kidnap for ransom and homicide by the Department of Justice (DoJ) for the abduction with ransom and death of Jee Ick Joo in Angeles City, Pampanga, October last year.

In a seven-page resolution , the DoJ found probable cause to file kidnapping for ransom with homicide raps against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four people identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding” in relation to the disappearance of businessman Jee Ick Joo.

The DoJ said that the kidnapping and serious illegal detention complaints filed by the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) against suspects but was upgraded to kidnapping for ransom with homicide due to the testimonies of SPO4 Roy Villegas and Jee’s househelp Marisa Morquicho.



Morquicho said in her sworn statement that together with her, Jee was taken by two unidentified men who introduced themselves as police officers from their house in Pampanga on October 18, 2016.

She said while on their way to Manila, the men informed her that her Korean boss was involved in illegal drug activities.

She noted that they passed Quezon City Circle until they reached a place where she saw several male persons wearing T-shirts with the marking “Pulis”.

Morquicho said early morning on the following day in Cubao, Quezon City, she was released from captivity and reported the incident with PNP-AKG in Camp Crame.

The PNP-AKG provided two cartographic sketches of the persons involved in the kidnapping. Morquicho identified Yalung as one of the kidnappers while she identified Sta. Isabel through watching news on TV as the very same person who had abducted the South Korean national.

Two police officers identified as SPO4 Roy Villegas and PO2 Christopher Baldovino both assigned in PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) appeared on January 16 in Camp Crame for protective custody and executed their respective sworn statements narrating in detail their knowledge of the incident involving the victim and pointed to Sta. Isabel and his co-conspirators as the abductors who killed the victim.

The DoJ resolution stated that Baldovino joined the operation as he believed then that the operation is a legitimate police operation against the herein victim who, according to respondent Sta. Isabel is involved in illegal drugs.

Villegas gave a detailed narration of the abduction and the eventual killing of the victims.

Villegas further said it was Sta. Isabelwho brought packaging tape and surgical gloves and ordered them to cover the head of the victim and follow him instead of Dumlao.

“He finally recalls seeing respondent Sta. Isabel strangling and killing the victim,” the DoJ resolution stated.

After the victim was killed, Villegas said Sta. Isabel called a certain “Ding” who agreed to receive the body in exchange for P30,000 and a golf set. Then, the body was brought to the funeral parlor in Caloocan.

Villegas reiterated that he thought all along that the surveillance and police operations he participated in were legitimate police operations.

“When he realized it, he did not resist and instead, he obeyed the instruction of respondent Sta. Isabel for fear of his life and that of his family,” the same resolution stated.

Choi Kyunghin, wife of Jee, 53, said her husband was forcibly taken by eight armed men on October 18 from his residence and has not been located until now.

The family paid P5 million ransom money on October 30 but he was never released.

The abductors asked for an additional P4 million but failed to produce proof of life prompting the family to seek the police’s assistance.

Choi has already offered a P100,000 reward for anyone who could give information on the whereabouts of her husband.

“As the victim was killed during and in course of his detention, respondents who acted in conspiracy are liable for the special complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide. The special complex of kidnapping for ransom with homicide is committed when the person was killed on the occasion, in connection, in the course of or subsequent to his detention, regardless of whether the killing was puposely sought or was merely an afterthought. In this case, it was respondent Sta. Isabel who killed the victim by strangulation , “ said the resolution signed by Senior State Prosecutors Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Lilian Doris Seranilla-Alejo and approved by Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda.

DoJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre issued an immigration lookout bulletin order against Sta. Isabel .

Immigration officers are now tasked to watch out for Sta. Isabel and contact the PNP, NBI, and other law enforcement agencies if they see him trying to get on a flight to another country.

Last Tuesday evening, the NBI, together with the Caloocan police went to the funeral parlor after receiving information that the body of Jee Ick Joo, a former executive at shipbuilding firm Hanjin, was taken at the funeral parlor the same day he was abducted. No body was recovered at the funeral parlor. Jee’s body has been cremated last year.

Sta. Isabel, who is currently under protective custody of the NBI, has given details to probers during interrogation. Aguirre said Sta. Isabel can be placed under the coverage of the government’s witness protection program because he knows everything about the incident after he confessed his participation in the crime and pinpointed other police officers involved, although he said his being a witness is still not a sure thing.

Victim strangled, killed in PNP HQ

Not only is the PNP in hot water following allegations that some of its top officials have been allegedly involved in the crime but also for claims by self-confessed perpe-trators that the victim was killed inside its headquarters.

Justice chief Aguirre yesterday said that high-ranking PNP officials have been tagged in the murder of the South Korean businessman in the “Tokhang for Ransom” case.

In a television interview yesterday, Aguirre said the NBI is probing the alleged involvement of high-ranking PNP officials in the abduction of Jee Ick-Joo, who was forcibly taken from his home on October 18 by armed suspects.

“The NBI is conducting a parallel investigation on this matter and it points to some involvement of some high officials in the PNP hierarchy,” Aguirre said.

In addition, Aguirre told reporters via phone patch Wednesday night that other than high-ranking officials surrounding PNP Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, there may also be police aides who are involved.

Aguirre however declined to identify them, explaining that the investigation into the alleged involvement of top police officials in the disappearance and murder of the South Korean businessman.

Aguirre also declined to confirm whether or not the officials were the alleged “narco generals” President Rodrigo Duterte had identified last July.

Sokor national’s golf set found in crematorium

The golf set of kidnapped South Korean Jee Ick joo was recovered by elements of the police Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) at a funeral parlor in Caloocan City Wednesday night.

Supt. Dennis Wagas, legal officer of AKG, said the seized golf set at Gream Funeral Service located in Barangay Bagbaguin, Caloocan City was confirmed by Jee’s wife as her late husband’s.

Armed with a search warrant, Wagas said that AKG operatives swooped down between 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday at Gream Funeral Service, allegedly owned by retired policeman Gregorio Santiago.

Santiago was the barangay chairman, who is allegedly among the high value targets of the PNP in its war against drugs, but has left for Canada.

“Upon seeing the golf set, Jee’s wife confirmed that this was the golf set of her husband,” said Wagas.

He added that the AKG is still looking for the Ford Explorer of Jee which was also taken during the kidnapping last October.
Wagas said that the recovery of the golf set will support the case they are pursuing against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel and four others, who are all identified but he refused to reveal the identities pending the filing of the case.

Sokor Gov’t calls for justice

The South Korean Embassy to the Philippines yesterday urged authorities to implement a comprehensive investigation surrounding the case of the South Korean businessman.

In a statement, South Korean Embassy to the Philippines stressed its “strong regrets” over the incident.

“We are very much shocked that an innocent Korean businessman became a victim into the heinous crime committed by group led by police officers under the pretext of performing duties,” it said.

The embassy called upon the Philippine authorities to “thoroughly conduct the investigation” so that the facts of the matter should be brought into light and that those responsible must be brought to justice.

In a recent announcement, South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Philippine’s top diplomat Perfecto Yasay Jr. himself informed Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se on the abduction and murder of Jee.

Yasay expressed the government’s deep regret over the death of Jee and assured that the Philippine authorities are taking the appropriate actions to this issue.

Quoted by the South Korean MOFA, Yasay gave Yun the guarantee that “the Philippines has appointed and ordered a special prosecutor to conduct an investigation in a swift manner, and will charge the person or people responsible for the case and take other necessary measures.”

Concerned about the safety and security of the Korean community, the embassy placed high hopes on the local law enforcers of their positive efforts in prevent this kind of case from happening again.

There are an estimated 90,000 Korean nationals living in the Philippines.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Charles Jose said “the DFA is coordinating closely with the South Korean side on this matter.” With Joyce Ann Rocamora, Mario J. Mallari and Ted Tuvera

-----------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Bato ready to resign By Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 22, 2017 - 12:00am 1 1 googleplus0 0


PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa (left) leads the ceremonial firing at the first ‘Chief PNP Bato Cup’ shooting competition held in honor of his birthday at Camp Karingal yesterday. Joining him are SAF director Chief Supt. Benjamin Lusad and QCPD director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar. BOY SANTOS

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa is willing to give up his post if President Duterte will ask him to do so.

Dela Rosa issued the statement yesterday amid calls for his resignation following the killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside PNP headquarters at Camp Crame.

“Kung papayag ang Presidente, bababa ako (If the President will allow it, I will step down). Just wait and I will talk to the President,” Dela Rosa told reporters during a shootfest at the Quezon City Police District headquarters at Camp Karingal.

Dela Rosa said he would personally ask the President if he was no longer satisfied with his performance.

He said there was no need for him to submit a resignation letter. “There is no need for such formality. I will just talk to him,” Dela Rosa said.

On Friday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a staunch ally of Duterte, said the PNP chief should vacate his post to spare the President from further embarrassment.

Calls for Dela Rosa’s resignation circulated on social media after he was spotted watching the Bryan Adams concert at the Araneta Coliseum on Thursday night amid the controversy that rocked the PNP.

Dela Rosa said skipping the concert would not bring back the Korean’s life.

“The victim had been killed. Will the Korean come back to life if I decided not to watch the concert?” he said during the premiere night of a movie dedicated to the Special Action Force commandos who were killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.

He added that what’s important is that the case has been solved with the arrest of Sta. Isabel.

“What do they want me to do? For me to commit hara kiri? I would take my own life to make them happy?” Dela Rosa said.

“But hara kiri would hurt. Maybe if he goes with me, those who said that I should resign, let’s do it together,” he added.

When asked if his statement was in reply to Alvarez and other critics’ call for him to quit, Dela Rosa said, “Yes. I will accommodate them.”

“I don’t know why the killing is being directed to me personally. We have several levels of command but still I’m not avoiding it because I’m the top PNP official,” he said.

Three police officers have been linked to the kidnapping and murder of Jee.

Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel is considered the prime suspect as he allegedly strangled Jee at Camp Crame.

Sta. Isabel tagged his team leader at the PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group, Supt. Rafael Dumlao III, as the one who ordered him to bring Jee’s remains to a funeral parlor in Caloocan City.

Dela Rosa placed Dumlao under restrictive custody and reassigned him to the Headquarters Support Service on Friday.

The third policeman, Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas, is also in the custody of the PNP.

The PNP took custody of Sta. Isabel from the National Bureau of Investigation after a warrant for his arrest was issued by the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 58 for kidnapping for ransom with homicide.

Dela Rosa, based on the information that he received, said Sta. Isabel threatened to pull down with him all the police officials involved in Jee’s killing.

“He was threatening Dumlao and his fellow officers,” Dela Rosa said.

“He is trying to make it appear that he is the least guilty,” he added.

Another suspect surrenders

Another suspect, Ramon Yalung, surrendered to police on Friday

night after he was included in the arrest order issued by the court.

Anti-Kidnapping Group legal officer Supt. Dennis Wagas said Yalung, 29, turned himself in to clear his name. “He is claiming innocence and a victim of mistaken identify,” Wagas said.

Wagas earlier said Yalung was identified by Jee’s housemaid as among the suspects who forcibly took the Korean businessman from his house in Angeles City on Oct. 18 last year.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno said heads would roll as a result of Jee’s killing.

Sueno vowed that all policemen involved in the murder would be held accountable for the crime.

Birthday wish

The PNP chief said he has one wish for his birthday – that all rogue policemen would reform.

“My wish is for the Lord to clear the minds of these policemen involved in syndicates,” Dela Rosa said.

He turned 55 yesterday.

Dela Rosa expressed hope that police officers involved in drug deals and other illegal activities would mend their ways.

“I hope the Lord would reconstruct their brains,” he said.

Dela Rosa said the controversy would not deter him from leading the government’s war on drugs.


PHILSTAR

House Speaker says Bato should quit over Korean’s kidnap By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 21, 2017 - 12:00am


Dela Rosa

MANILA, Philippines - For being clueless about a brutal crime committed under his nose and right inside his headquarters, Philippine National Police chief Director Ronald dela Rosa should immediately relinquish his post, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said yesterday, referring to the kidnap-slaying of a South Korean national by his police captors.

“The commission of a heinous crime right under his very nose is not only an insult but a clear indication that he has lost the respect of his people,” the Davao del Norte congressman, a staunch ally of President Duterte, said.

In response to calls for his resignation by netizens, Dela Rosa said he is leaving his fate to the President.

In seeking Dela Rosa’s replacement, the Speaker even cited a TV recording of the national police chief in December 2016 showing him running away from a press briefing “like a headless chicken after a pyrotechnic device he was holding started to smoke.”

READ MORE...

“How can we believe the stern statements Dela Rosa had been making against criminals like in the aftermath of the Davao City bombing when he was the first to run at the slightest possibility of danger?” Alvarez pointed out.

Now touted as a rock star who is reportedly aiming for the Senate in May 2019, Dela Rosa “seems more interested in having a showbiz career and in landing in society pages of newspapers,” Alvarez said.

The House leader said the PNP chief has been “everywhere doing mundane things like singing videoke and watching concerts.”

“Dela Rosa should buckle down to work or better yet give the job to someone else who is dead serious in leading the PNP in its multi-pronged war against drugs, criminals and the scalawags within its ranks,” Alvarez suggested.

MORE CALLS FOR RESIGNATION

Calls for him to resign followed revelations that kidnapped South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo was killed by a policeman inside Camp Crame on Oct. 18 last year.

“Do they think I am enjoying my job? They want me to resign? They should tell the President to remove me,” Dela Rosa said. He did not reply when asked by The STAR to react to Alvarez’s statement.

“How cruel of them to say that I should resign. I have no rest. I have no sleep but anyway we cannot satisfy everyone,” he said.

“If the entire Philippines is declared drug free, then maybe I can resign,” he said.

Dela Rosa admitted Jee’s killing inside Camp Crame was his failure as a policeman was involved. “I admit that killing which happened here was our fault,” said Dela Rosa.

He revealed Duterte was enraged on learning that a lawman, Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, is the prime suspect in Jee’s killing.

He declined to answer when asked about the President’s directive on the case.

“That is between us. I could not reveal that to you,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

Meanwhile, Sta. Isabel was brought back to Camp Crame at past 7 p.m. yesterday. He was accompanied by operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Group.

Insult to 'Bato'

Senators said the latest police involvement in a heinous crime is a sign of growing defiance of his subordinates to Dela Rosa’s leadership.

PIMENTEL

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III expressed anger over the killing of Jee by police officers inside the PNP headquarters.

“Enforce the law! The law in place. Murder is non-bailable,” Pimentel said in a text message.

He said Dela Rosa must first be given a chance to resolve the matter swiftly and satisfactorily before he gives in to calls for his resignation.

LACSON

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said the incident “was probably the most unwelcome wake-up call” for Dela Rosa.

“Having said that, the PNP leadership should lose no time in addressing the issue by henceforth going hammer and tongs against all rogue cops who only care about their personal gains to the detriment of the entire police organization,” Lacson said in a statement.

“Priority must be against those who take advantage of the President’s all-out, mostly bloody war against illegal drugs,” he said.

ESCUDERO

Sen. Francis Escudero said the incident was not only embarrassing but also “outright wrong and unacceptable.”

“This shows absence of respect and sheer arrogance of some police officers, not only with their PNP chief but with their uniform and organization,” Escudero said.

He said the killing was a result of Dela Rosa’s apparent coddling of police officers accused of executing suspected drug lord Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolando Espinosa in his jail cell last November while supposedly serving a search warrant before dawn.

POE

Sen. Grace Poe said the incident is a litmus test on Dela Rosa’s leadership.

“This is one case that he must show resolve, boldly, that it will leave no doubt in the minds of our enraged citizenry that these men will be punished,” Poe said.

“Outrage must also come from the President. He must be one with the people in demanding justice. His condemnation must be forceful and unequivocal,” she said.

She warned any hint of hesitation or partiality on his part would further damage his reputation and that of the PNP.

CAYETANO

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano also described the incident as a “big, big wake-up call” for Dela Rosa even as he opposed calls for the PNP chief to resign.

“There’s no perfect campaign. It’s tragic, it’s so sad, it’s inexcusable to abuse a government program,” Cayetano told reporters, even as he expressed appreciation for Dela Rosa’s taking responsibility for the incident.

“The next question is: who in the chain (of command), who in the organization failed, so all of these questions, hard questions have to be asked and be dealt with,” he said.

DE LIMA

Sen. Leila de Lima said the killing was the “logical and necessary outcome” of giving unlimited power and virtual immunity to policemen in the light of the rising cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.

“The international community is now forewarned of what law enforcement has become in the Philippines, where the law enforcers have become the number one criminal offenders,” De Lima said.

Death penalty

For Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto, the killing also strengthens the arguments for the re-imposition of the death penalty in the country.

However, Recto said that the “cruelty and impunity inflicted in crimes like the one that victimized the Korean is beginning to define what a super heinous crime that may be punishable by death is.”

“In terms of how dastardly a crime is, we are seeing examples of a higher bar in which death penalty, in the eyes of its advocates, could be imposed,” Recto said.

The proposals to revive the death penalty in the country are already being tackled in Congress with particular focus on including drug pushing and other heinous crimes in the list of offenses punishable by death.

Debates in the Senate are expected to be extensive because its members are divided on this issue.

Recto said that complex crimes such as the one involving Jee serve as powerful emotional arguments for the re-imposition of the death penalty.

He said that he expects the debates on death penalty to be infused with actual examples of heinous crimes in which the demand for a greater restitution is high.

“It will go beyond theories and studies. Actual examples will be used by both sides. The pro will parade examples of heinous crimes. While the antis will cite successes of the power of rehabilitative justice,” he said.

In order for the proponents of death penalty to succeed in their advocacy, Recto said they should limit the coverage to the “super heinous, blood curdling and truly atrocious complex crimes.”

Recto said that he expects a greater chance for approval if there is a limit to the scope of the bill so that it only covers the truly monstrous and wicked acts, installs safeguards against abuses and provisions for automatic review by the Supreme Court.

He clarified that he was only “explaining the legislative terrain, the policy atmosphere under which the great debate will happen, for the benefit of all concerned.”

Together with the discussions on the re-imposition of the death penalty, Recto said that there should be moves to modernize the police force and reform the judicial system.

“The certainty of arrest and conviction is a better deterrent against crime,” he said. – With Emmanuel Tupas, Marvin Sy, Paolo Romero

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER (COMMENTARY)

ON TARGET By Ramon Tulfo: For Bato, there’s no other way By: Ramon Tulfo -@inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 01:02 AM January 21, 2017


RAMON TULFO

A wag suggested on Friday the renaming of Camp Crame to Camp Crime.

The wag was one of the listeners of “Karambola,” a popular commentary program on radio station dwIZ.

He was alluding to the killing of kidnapped South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo right inside Camp Crame, national headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Jee was strangled by one of his kidnappers in an office building a stone’s throw away from the “White House,” the official residence of Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the PNP chief.

The killing is the most shameful in the history of the PNP, considered among the most corrupt and abusive police organizations in the world.

So shameful is the crime, committed by the very people who were supposed to protect the Korean expatriate, that Dela Rosa said he wanted to “melt away in humiliation because it happened inside Camp Crame.”

No, Dela Rosa, you cannot melt away because you are not an ice cube.

You should resign. There is no other way but for you to give up your badge; that is, if you have any delicadeza left in you.

Even Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is a very close friend of President Digong, is calling for the PNP chief’s resignation.

“Grabe ang gihimo nila sa Koreano, bai (What they did to the Korean was execrable, my friend). I will make an official statement,” the Speaker told me over the phone on Friday.

Many citizens will rally behind the Speaker.

***

Let me tell Bato an anecdote about a town in Japan, where citizens value their honor and reputation.

Many years ago in that small town, a patrolman on the beat raped a housewife.

As an aftermath, the patrolman’s immediate supervisor killed himself in shame.

The town’s police chief also committed suicide.

The town mayor resigned his position.

The message of the anecdote? Bato should know—if he has enough brains.

***

The President’s noble intention is to make the Philippines a crime-free society like what happened in Davao City when he was its mayor.

But how can he achieve this if many of our policemen, who are supposed to protect us from criminals, are themselves criminals?

Now is the time for the President to undertake an internal cleansing in the PNP in the wake of Jee’s murder by policemen.

If Mano Digong is trying to purge Philippine society of scumbags, why not include those among the police?

***

FIGHTING AT SENATE

Senators Migz Zubiri and Antonio Trillanes nearly came to blows on the floor of the Senate over the probe into the P50-million bribery scandal involving two immigration commissioners.

Had blows landed between the antagonists, I’m sure it would not—repeat, not—be Zubiri who would be lying flat on the floor.

I’ve seen Zubiri spar with fellow aficionados in full-contact karate and arnis, the Filipino martial art of stickfighting, and he always came out standing; his opponent down or beaten to a pulp.

But Zubiri is a man of peace; just don’t drive him into a corner.


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