MANILA – An international human rights group has expressed concerned over the killing of a Korean in the Philippines under the guise of a legitimate anti-illegal drug operation.
New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the killing of Ick-joo Jee allegedly by rogue policemen is fueling speculations that the the Duterte government is indeed sanctioning extrajudicial killings.
“There are allegations that 'death squads' composed of plainclothes police personnel are behind some of the 'unidentified gunmen' killings," HRW Asia Division Deputy Director Phelim Kine said in a dispatch.
"Revelations last week that police officers kidnapped and then strangled to death a South Korean businessman – after raiding his home using a fake arrest warrant falsely implicated him in illegal drug activities – have deepened such suspicions."
Jee was abducted from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga on October 18, 2016 by policemen allegedly led by SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drug Group.
It was later revealed that Jee was killed inside Camp Crame the same day he was abducted and his remains cremated. [KILLED INSIDE CAMP CRAME: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/01/19/17/korean-businessman-killed-inside-camp-crame-bato]
The controversy spurred resignation calls for Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, who is in charge of Duterte’s bloody crackdown against illegal drugs.
The government has denied sanctioning alleged vigilante killings, even as Duterte had been repeatedly accused of operating a death squad as Davao City mayor.
Legitimate police drug operations have so far claimed the lives of over 2,500 drug suspects, a figure HRW said is an “appalling but predictable” result of Duterte’s anti-drug push.
“They also symbolize the wider systems-failure that has exposed thousands of Filipinos to the threat of summary killings,” Kine said.
“Police justify those 2,503 killings, saying that the victims ‘resisted arrest and shot at police officers.’ But police have not provided further evidence that officers acted in self-defense.”