Killing of Koreans / Fighting for ‘what is right’

>> Monday, January 30, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

BAGUIO CITY – The killing, extortion, robbery and harassment of Koreans in this Banana Republic  has put a series of black eyes to the country’s reputation as a tourism destination, now reeling from spate of killings of suspected drug personalities. 
Even as the Philippine National Police placed under restrictive custody an officer from the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group who allegedly abducted Korean businessman Ick Joo Jee, in Angeles, Pampanga on October, the killing of another Korean in this summer capital is still unsolved.
Baguio police have floated a love triangle and business rivalry as motives in the recent killing of the Korean owner of Monro’s Bar here along Bokawkan Road a but then it is as far as that.
Now pundits on radio and coffee shops like Chong Loy’s Luisa's Restaurant along Session Road, the newsmen’s watering hole, are saying the Baguio incident may have been the work of scalawag policemen who extorted money from the victim. 
The Philippine government has sent its apologies to the government and the people of South Korea for the death of Jee Ick Joo. It should also do so for the killing of the Korean national in Baguio and make the city police chief hasten investigation of the case which seems to have been mothballed.
“We apologize to the South Korean government and people for this irreparable loss but we commit the full force of the law to ensure that justice is served and not delayed. To the Korean people, please accept our sincerest and deepest regrets,” said Presidential spokesperson Undersecretary Ernesto Abella in a statement.
Abella said the Duterte administration is intent in delivering swift justice against perpetrators of the crime, on behalf of the Korean national.
The official admitted the killing of Jee was the result of the Philippine government’s deep rooted problem with corruption.
“Let’s just go back to President’s campaign theme, to stop crime and corruption and illegal drugs and apparently particular situation, indicates that there is truly a depth of corruption within the government system,” Abella said. President Duterte had expressed his condolences to the victim’s widow, Choi Kyung-Jin.
This,  as seven policemen involved in another robbery-extortion against three Korean nationals are now under the restrictive custody of the Philippine National Police Region-3.
According to PNP Region-3 Director Chief Supt Aaron Aquino, the suspects who wore civilian clothes, went to the residence of these Koreans who only came to the Philippines for a vacation and to play golf.
The policemen entered the victims’ house to allegedly conduct operations against supposed illegal online gambling activities of the three victims.
The suspects extorted P300,000 from the victims and took all their golf shoes, golf clubs, jewelry, computers, cell phones, and more cash among others.
Out of fear, the victims opted to report the incident directly to the Korean Embassy instead of the Angeles City Police.
According to Aquino, “May ina- identify pa kaming isa, kasi according to the victims, walo ang involved doon sa robbery extortion na yun.”
(We are still identifying one more suspect because according to the victims, there were 8 men involved in the robbery extortion.)
The victims did not file criminal complaint against the suspects but nevertheless submitted their affidavits before heading back to Korea.
The PNP will use the said affidavits to file administrative cases against the seven policemen.
Aquino said PNP chief “Bato” De La Rosa had ordered the suspects’ dismissal from service and is having them investigated for possible connections to SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who was earlier tagged in the killing of Jee Ick Joo
The chief PNP earlier said that he will not let any cover up happen in favor of police officers involved in illegal activities like the killing of
Korean nationals.
He should make good his word considering the Koreans have been a great help in boosting the country’s economy. In Baguio alone, their presence has contributed much to business, education among other endeavors.
Former Bishop Emeritus Carlito Cenzon of the Diocese of Baguio said the people of Baguio City and Benguet should “continue to fight for what is right and make the community a better place to live in.”
A Philippine Information Agency report said the bishop, retired this month at the age of 77.  The report said he had been active in social concerns and   environmental protection and was in the forefront against graft and corrupt practices acts involving elected officials. He also is a strong advocate against all forms of gambling and other social menace together with the Baguio Benguet Ecumenical Group. Despite this, jueteng is still prevalent in these areas.
He led community protests against environmentally-destructive projects in Baguio City and Benguet including the filing of a writ of kalikasan for Mt. Santo Tomas following its destruction by several individuals. This led to the subsequent granting of a temporary protection order to protect the watershed.
Cenzon urged individuals and groups that he worked with to continue the advocacies they started.  He called on the Catholic-faithful in Baguio City and Benguet to provide all the support to the new Bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Victor Bendico.
The Catholic Church earlier held the episcopal ordination and installation of Most Reverend Bishop Victor Bendico during the Eucharistic celebration at the Lady of Atonement Baguio Cathedral on Jan. 9. 
Most Reverend Marlo Peralta, Archbishop of Nueva Segovia led the installation with Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle and archbishops, bishops and priests from all over the country. The 57- year- old new bishop of the Diocese of Baguio  hails from Roxas City  in Capiz.
Prior to the ordination and installation rites, the city government of Baguio led by Rep. Mark Go and Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the provincial government of Benguet led by Rep. Ronald Cosalan and Gov. Pacalso welcomed the new Bishop and handed over resolutions adopting him as son of Baguio City and Benguet. They also turned over the symbolic keys of their localities.

Bishop Bendico thanked the people of Baguio City and Benguet province for the warm welcome and reception they gave him. He called on the people to journey together for the common good.  


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