Just last week, an investigation revealed that a South Korean businessman, Jee Ick-joo, was strangled to death inside the PNP headquarters after being kidnapped by anti-drugs officers looking to extort money from his wife.
SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, main suspect for the abduction of Jee Ick-Joo from their home in Angeles City, accused the slayed korean businessman of being involved in illegal drugs.
Jee Ick-Joo’s innocence was later proved by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs last Thursday.
“It is hard for the all out war on illegal drugs to succeed because we have a problem with members of the police force taking advantage.”, said Sen. Panfilo Lacson during the public hearing.
Police have reported killing more than 2,500 people accused of being drug suspects, while almost 4,000 have died in unexplained circumstances. Bodies are often left on streets with signs branding them drug addicts.
During the said hearing regarding Jee Ick-Joo’s kidnap-slay case, the Senate announced the punishment for the three PNP officers that were charged with robbery and extortion.
However none of the three officers were imprisoned nor fired from their post. They were transferred to the southern most part of the country instead, as it was the personal order of President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
This “immunity” that the police enjoy amidst scandals, corruption and impunity is alarming since President repeatedly pledged that he will protect and shield national officers if they happen to be charged with killing of any drug suspect.
Policemen involved with abducting, extorting and murdering people have raised fears of rogue cops using President Duterte’s deadly drug war as their cover. They have heightened concerns that the police force, now perceived as one of the Philippines’ most corrupt institution, cannot be trusted to pursue, or even handle, the President’s drug war.