PH may be held liable for South Korean businessman’s slay–solon
The Philippines may have to issue a formal apology and pay reparations to South Korea for the killing of businessman Jee Ick-joo by police officers at Camp Crame under international law, a lawmaker said on Friday.
Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque, a former international law professor at the University of the Philippines, said the Philippines “may be held liable for failure to protect the life of foreign nationals in its territory.”
Such international responsibility, according to the congressman, “may arise given the circumstance of the killing and most specially, when the Tokhang cops responsible for the murder are not investigated and punished for their act.”
“As a result of international responsibility for the doing of an internationally wrongful act, the Philippines is duty bound to provide reparations — which includes the duty to seek apology from the South Korean government (sic) for the circumstance of the death of its national, and the payment of compensation ‘to the extent that it will extinguish all the consequences of the illegal act’,” Roque said.
Asked how much in damages the South Korean government may seek from the Philippines, Roque said there was no fixed amount.
But he said the rule was that the reparations should be enough as to “extinguish all consequences of the illegal acts.”
Roque recalled the Manila bus hostage crisis in August 2010 when a police officer hijacked a tour bus, leading to the deaths of seven tourists and their guide, all from Hong Kong.
The Philippine government later said it gave compensation to the victims through a private nongovernment organization without disclosing the amounts. It was not until 2014, however, that the Philippines formally apologized for the incident following a visit to the territory by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
Roque cited a legal principle in a case known as the “Neer Claim,” which states that the threshold for a country to assume international delinquency “should amount to an outrage, to bad faith, to willful neglect of duty, or to an insufficiency of governmental action so far short of international standards that every reasonable and impartial man would readily recognize its insufficiency.”
The Neer Claim was made by the United States in 1924 following the killing of an American citizen named Paul Neer by a group of armed men in Mexico. The US claim alleged that Mexican authorities had shown culpable lack of diligence in prosecuting the culprits.
Jee Ick-joo was killed shortly after his abduction in October last year allegedly by rogue policemen who had taken advantage of the government’s drug war under a police operation dubbed “Tokhang” to undertake kidnap-for-ransom activities.
The Korean was reportedly murdered within the premises of Camp Crame, the headquarters of the police force, embarrassing its chief, Ronald dela Rosa.
Since the suspected killers were police officers, in effect, they “acted as agents of the Philippine government regardless of the illegality of their acts,” Roque said. CDG
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