Duterte to dissolve anti-drugs units within the Philippines police
South Korean businessman allegedly kidnapped and murdered by rogue cops
President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a total overhaul of the Philippine National Police in the wake of the alleged brutal killing of a South Korean businessman by corrupt police officials.
“Cleanse your ranks. Review their cases. Give me a list of who the scalawags are,” Duterte said in a press conference late Sunday night.
Last week, Duterte apologized to South Korean investors and South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines, Kim Jae-Shin, for the murder of Jee Ick-joo and promised swift retribution.
“I am very sorry for that sordid incident. But I can assure you; policemen – I will not let you get away,” he said according to CNN Philippines.
On Sunday, he gave any suspects still at large 48 hours to surrender, threatening to put a 5 million peso ‘dead-or-alive’ bounty on their heads.
Jee’s gruesome kidnap and murder has sent shockwaves across the Philippines and prompted accusations of a meltdown of discipline within the police force.
The businessman was allegedly taken from his home in October, held for ransom and then murdered by high-ranking police officers.
On Sunday, the Philippines president ordered the dissolution of all anti-illegal drug units within the Philippine National Police, although he said he remains committed to the controversial war on drugs campaign.
“I will establish a new command. It could be a narcotics command or whatever,” he said, adding that he believes 40 percent of the police use their authority to commit crime.
“As directed by the president, we are going to dissolve anti-drug units of the PNP in all levels, including the anti-illegal drugs group of the PNP,” said PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, according to CNN Philippines.
Investigations showed Jee was taken from his home in October 2016 by officers working for the AIDG, or Anti-Illegal Drug Group.
One of the suspects had a fake arrest warrant and Jee was arrested under the guise of a drugs bust, according to Philippines National Police spokesman, Colonel Dionard Carlos in an interview with CNN on January 20.
Jee’s family didn’t immediately report the incident and say they paid a 5 million peso ransom ($100,000) two weeks after his kidnapping. However, his abductors did not release him and instead demanded another 4.5 million pesos ($90,300).
According to Carlos, Jee was strangled to death before he was cremated at a funeral parlor. His ashes were then poured down a toilet.
More than 7,000 people have died since Duterte unleashed his bloody crackdown on drugs in June 2016.
The campaign has caused a backlash amongst human rights groups, who accuse Duterte of turning a blind eye to killings by the police in the name of his war on drugs.
Joshua Berlinger in Hong Kong and Kathy Quiano in Manila contributed to this report.