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Anti-drugs cop linked to Korean's kidnap under restrictive custody - Bato

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa speaks to someone on the phone at a break in a Senate hearing in this September 2016 file photo. PHOTO BY AVITO C. DALAN, PNA
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - A police officer linked to the abduction of a Korean businessman in Angeles City in October 2016 has been placed under restrictive custody, the chief of the Philippine National Police said Monday.

At a press briefing in Camp Crame, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa declined, however, to reveal the name of the police officer except to say he has the rank of Senior Police Officer 3, pending the result of an ongoing investigation.

“Regarding the police who is a suspect… he’s already under restrictive custody so that he is available any time needed for investigation. The Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) has already filed a case against him,” Dela Rosa told reporters.

The PNP Chief said the officer in question,  linked by news reports to what was billed as an apparent "Tokhang for kidnapping" - a reference to the PNP's vaunted drive to ferret out drug users and dealers, but which rogue cops are said to be misusing - is not being named yet as other cohorts are being tracked. But dela Rosa vowed the policeman will be dismissed from the service if found guilty.

“I cannot mention his name, but we are not condemning him immediately, but we will not defend him either. And if he really is involved he doesn’t deserve a day [longer] in this organization,” said the PNP chief.

Ransom paid, no sign of victim

Meanwhile, he expressed hope that the Korean businessman, identified as Jee Ick-Joo, is still alive even though nothing much has been heard from the kidnappers after his Korean wife paid ransom shortly after he was abducted.  She failed to get him back despite paying the ransom, and even reportedly received a demand for additional payment, which she ignored and then reported to the police.

Media reports said the Korean was abducted by an alleged member of the PNP-AIDG who went to the businessman’s house in Angeles City in Pampanga sometime in October. Their group allegedly used an anti-drug operation as pretext for ransacking the house, before seizing the businessman and a housemaid, said news reports.

The police officer was tagged because there were witnesses to the abduction, and reportedly because the vehicle used for the kidnapping was registered in the cop's wife's name.

The PNP chief said Monday he was already informed about the kidnapping of the Korean businessman last year.

"I'm completely apprised of that case. The former director of the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) reported it to me and also the AIDG Director I just hope that the Korean is still alive,” Dela Rosa said.

He instructed the director of the AKG to contact the victim's wife so he can meet her.

“I already knew the case of her husband for quite some time now, but I only read yesterday her appeal. I instructed the AKG chief to make contact with the Korean. I like to talk to her if she’s willing to talk with me,” Dela Rosa said.