Lacson seeks Senate probe into 'tokhang for ransom'


Posted at Jan 18 2017 12:21 PM | Updated as of Jan 18 2017 10:59 PM

MANILA - Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has filed a resolution seeking a legislative probe into the alleged "tokhang for ransom" scheme of some rogue policemen who use the war on drugs as a cover for extortion activities.

In his Senate Resolution 625, Lacson directed the committee on public order and illegal drugs, which he chairs, to investigate the kidnap-extortion racket, with "the end in view of expediting the seeming slow and soft actions" of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the issue.

The resolution cited the case of a Jee Ick Joo, a South Korean businessman, who was seized by armed men led by an officer of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group at the pretext of conducting Oplan Tokhang at his home in Angeles, Pampanga last year.

Jee's abduction has been reported as kidnap-for-ransom after his wife said that she paid P5 million as ransom.

Investigation later showed the businessman was strangled to death on the same day of his abduction. His remains were allegedly cremated in a crematorium operated by a former police officer.

Lacson claimed Jee's killing was not the first time that Oplan Tokhang was abused by rogue cops, saying that a friend of his was also taken from his own warehouse in Bulacan on the pretext of his fabricated drug activities.

The senator said the victim was allegedly released after his family paid ransom.

Lacson, a former PNP chief, said that amid criticisms against Tokhang efforts, police officials should "show strong resolve against in dealing with its members who engage in 'hulidap' and kidnap-extortion, thereby taking advantage of the government's no-nonsense efforts against drug offenders."

"The investigation and prosecution of such activities should be expedited in order for the PNP to regain the trust and confidence of out people," the lawmaker added.