Lacson seeks Senate inquiry into ‘tokhang for ransom’
Senator Panfilo Lacson has formally sought a Senate inquiry into reported “tokhang for ransom” activities allegedly being perpetrated by some rogue members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Lacson filed Senate Resolution No. 265, directing the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which he chairs, to conduct the investigation “with the end in view of expediting the [seemingly] slow and soft action of the PNP on the perpetrators of said dreadful and appalling activities, and ultimately providing remedial legislations that will hasten the investigation and prosecution of similar incidents.”
The resolution specifically cited the abductions of a 53-year-old South Korean national, Jee Ick-Joo, last October 18, 2016, and Lacson’s own friend in August last year–both allegedly in the guise of the PNP’s anti-drug war dubbed as “Project Tokhang.”
Lacson said his friend, whom he did not name, was freed after paying ransom money to kidnappers while recent media reports said that the Korean businessman was killed by his abductors.
“Had this representation not interceded by literally pleading with his family to cooperate fully with a guarantee that he would be safe, he could have suffered the same fate as that of the recent Korean victim,” the senator said in the resolution, referring to his unnamed friend.
“The victim was released only after ransom was paid by the family. Through cooperation with the victim’s family, the PNP was able to monitor the payment of the ransom money which resulted [in] the apprehension of all suspects appearing to have been led by a Police Chief Inspector,” he added.
Most of the suspects, he said, had been positively identified and subsequently relieved and are now undergoing preliminary investigation by the Department of Justice.
“Considering the criticisms being thrown at the PNP in the implementation of its Project Tokhang, its leadership should show strong resolve in dealing with its members, who engage in ‘hulidap’ and kidnap extortion thereby taking advantage of the government’s no-nonsense efforts against drug offenders as they destroy the image and credibility of the entire police force,” the resolution further said.
Lacson, in an interview Tuesday, said his committee would conduct its first hearing next week.
One of the resource persons that might be invited in the hearing would be Teresita Ang-See, who, he said, came to his office after learning the kidnapping of his friend and reported six other cases of abductions in Tondo and in Manila. CDG
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