De Lima disappointed with suspension of ‘tokhang’ probe
Senator Leila de Lima has expressed dismay over Senator Panfilo Lacson ’s decision to temporarily suspend the Senate probe on the so-called “tokhang for ransom” as she raised the possibility that more high ranking police officers were involved in the abduction and murder of a Korean businessman.
“Hindi ko po gusto ‘yan; hindi pwede ho ‘yung mga investigations natin dito in aid of legislation ay naiiwan sa ere, na marami pang dapat i-clarify, dun pa lang sa mga facts. Kasi ang importante makuha muna ang lahat na facts at ‘yung katotohanan,” De Lima told reporters Monday.
(I don’t like that; it can’t be that our investigation in aid of legislation will be left hanging where so many things need to be clarified, just with the facts. What’s important is that we get the facts and the truth first.)
“Yes, the ultimate objective is always for purposes of crafting the needed or necessary legislation. But before we can do that, kailangan inaalam muna yung buong storya sa isang controversy, sa isang eskandalo na katulad ng tokhang for ransom, the kidnap-slay of a Korean…” she said.
(We need to find out first the whole story of a controversy, a scandal like the tokhang for ransom and the kidnap-slay of a Korean…)
The senator was referring to South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo, who was taken from his house in Angeles City, Pampanga last October 18 and reportedly strangled to death by SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel inside the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters.
The case is now the subject of an investigation by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs. As chair of the committee, however, Lacson decided to temporarily suspend the probe, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to the PNP to first clean its own ranks.
“Pero kailangan pa rin nating malaman yung katotohanan dyan kasi (But we still need to find out the truth because) how can they really truly and fully solve the problem about bad elements within the PNP without knowing, without determining the exact magnitude of the problem?” De Lima asked.
A former Justice Secretary, the senator raised the possibility that higher ranking police officials could be involve on the Korean kidnap-slay case, not just at the level of Sta. Isabel or his superior, Superintendent Rafael Dumlao of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group.
Sta. Isabel and Dumlao vehemently denied their involvement in the kidnap-slay when they appeared and testified before the committee last week.
“Pinaka-importante palagi sa akin sa mga ganyang hearing ay ang katotohanan. Madali ng mag-isip ng mga remedyo, madali ng mag-isip ng mga needed pieces of legislation kapag alam na alam natin iyong buong istorya. Hindi ganyan, ang dami pang unanswered questions na would be kept hanging na naman,” De Lima said.
(The most important thing for me in these hearings is the truth. It’s easy to think of a remedy, it’s easy to think of the needed pieces of legislation when you know the whole story. It shouldn’t be like that, there are so many unanswered questions that would be kept hanging again.)
“With due respect to Sen. Ping as the committee chair, I certainly am disappointed,” she added.
Sought for comment, Lacson clarified that his committee was suspending its probe for this week only but it would still resume its proceedings after a week or two.
“Hindi ko naman sinasabing hindi na maghe-hearing. Gusto ko muna makita kung anong ibubunga ng bagong direktiba ng Presidente (I didn’t say that there will be no more hearing. I want to see first what the outcome will be with the new directive of the President). After that, maybe after 1-2 weeks, we can resume anytime,” he said.
“Kasi hindi pwedeng hindi itutuloy. Gagawa ng committee report. Kung kulang ang facts, hindi kami makapaggawa ng intelligence committee report. Itutuloy definitely pero not muna this week,” Lacson said.
(It shouldn’t be stopped. A committee report will be made. If facts are lacking, we can’t make an intelligence committee report. We’ll continue definitely but not this week.) JE/rga
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