Lacson halts Jee slay probe amid drug war overhaul


Posted at Jan 30 2017 12:28 PM

PNP chief General Ronald dela Rosa gestures how a policeman strangled South Korean Jee Ick Joo during a Senate investigation into the killing last Thursday. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday suspended a legislative inquiry into the kidnap-slay of Korean trader Jee Ick Joo after the Philippine National Police placed its anti-narcotics crackdown on hold.

In a statement, Lacson reasoned that lawmakers must first observe the consequences of PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa's order to stop the drug war and focus instead on cleansing police ranks.

"In view of the massive restructuring of the war vs drugs to focus on rogue cops as ordered by the president, it is my view that the Senate wait and see how this latest development plays out," he said in a statement.

"Having said that, I am suspending the hearings on the 'tokhang' for ransom issue."

The PNP has come under intense scrutiny after cops from the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group were accused of abducting Jee under the guise of a legitimate raid and strangling him to death inside Camp Crame before extorting millions of pesos from his family.
President Duterte himself on Sunday ordered the AIDG to disband, saying he was embarrassed that anti-drugs officers had abused their power to engage in kidnapping.

Hours after Duterte's statement, Dela Rosa announced Monday the break-up of the AIDG and the suspension of the war on drugs.

Lacson, a former PNP chief himself, lauded the recent developments, which he said were among the goals of the inquiry into Jee's slay.

"After all, the president has taken a positive action on the matter and I feel that the committee on public order and dangerous drugs has partially achieved one of the purposes of its legislative inquiry," the lawmaker said.

"It is now time to attend to the pertinent legislative measures referred to the committee."

Lacson's committee opened the probe last Thursday and was supposed to conduct its second hearing on February 2.