Chinese trader victimized by 'tokhang for ransom' - solon

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2017 05:05 PM | Updated as of Jan 24 2017 06:47 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte takes his oath as the 16th President of the Philippines at the Rizal Hall in Malacanan Palace. Malacanan News and Information Bureau

CASES AGAINST 7 COPS DID NOT PROSPER - ROQUE 

A Chinese sugar trader who was personally invited by President Duterte to his inauguration last year has also fallen victim to the "tokhang for ransom" extortion scheme, a party-list lawmaker said Monday. 

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque revealed the story of the sugar trader, who is also his friend, to drive home how deeply rooted the problem of tokhang for ransom is in the Philippine National Police in light of the killing of Korean Ick Joo Jee allegedly at the hands of rogue cops.

Roque recalled that the unnamed friend happened to have access to Duterte. He said, if not for the ties of the trader to Malacañang, the government may not have moved as swiftly as it did to save the guy.

“Iyung unang biktima ng mga tokhang na police ay kaibigan ko. Nagkataon lang po yung unang biktimang iyon ay naka-attend at inimbita personal ni President Digong kaya buong Malacañang ay gumalaw noong siya ay kinuha,” he said. 

“Ang banta po sa kaniya eh pi-picture-an siya kasama ng 20 kilos of shabu kapag hindi siya nagbayad. Wala pong pagkakaiba ang nangyari sa Koreanong ito. "

He said the incident happened between September and October last year. The trader was taken by policemen who failed to present any arrest warrant. The policemen supposedly asked for as much as P1 million in exchange of his freedom.

Roque said cases were filed against seven policemen involved in the abduction but these cases have not prospered.

The lawmaker said more “tokhang for ransom” cases may happen in the future if the death penalty is reimposed.

"Kapag binalik po natin ang parusang kamatayan mas malaki na po ang hihingin ng tokhang na pulis dahil alam nila pwedeng mapatawan ng parusang kamatayan yung biktima nila,” he said.

The Palace earlier vowed there will be no whitewash or cover-up in the investigation on the killing of South Korean businessman Ick Joo Jee inside Camp Crame last year.

The businessman disappeared from his home in Angeles City north of Manila last October.

Police from a special anti-drug unit abducted him under the guise of a raid on illegal drugs.

A policeman then strangled him inside Camp Crame, the national police headquarters in Manila, the Justice Department said last week.

The Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order earlier said there have been at least 11 other extortion incidents by policemen and individuals who presented themselves as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives. With Agence France Presse