Lacson asks AI to produce cop’s affidavit on paid-for drug kills
MANILA — Sen. Panfilo Lacson is willing to include an Amnesty International Report on rogue cops in the ongoing Senate inquiry on the “tokhang for ransom” killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, if the international human rights watchdog has evidence on its findings.
And by evidence, Lacson said these should come in the form of sworn statements of witnesses the AI talked to in its investigation of President Duterte’s now suspended war on drugs that has claimed the lives of over 7,000 drug suspects in the seven-month-old administration.
The Amnesty International reported that policemen in the country paid its own officers and assassins to kill drug offenders.
Lacson said on Sunday his Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs would write AI on Monday (Feb.6) to find out what it has been holding in terms of its controversial findings.
“If AI is holding a sworn statement of the (unidentified) SPO1 (senior police officer 1) who admitted accepting money to kill (drug suspects) as a reward, by all means let us investigate,” he said in an interview with dzBB.
The AI has come out with a 66-page report that concluded that a majority of the killings appear to be “systematic, planned and organized” by authorities and thus, could be deemed as crimes against humanity.
Sen. Francis Escudero announced last week he would file a resolution to call for a Senate inquiry on the AI report but both Lacson and Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate justice committee, expressed reluctance to lead such an inquiry without the benefit of witnesses.
On Sunday, Lacson said a Senate resolution to call for the inquiry on the AI report might not be necessary because his committee could include it in its ongoing inquiry on Jee, who was abducted and killed in October last year allegedly by policemen who had asked money from him after tagging him as a drug trafficker.
Lacson said he may resume the hearings on the Jee case on Thursday.
But he also reiterated the need for his committee to have names of resource persons it could ask about the AI findings.
If AI would tell him that it could not divulge its witnesses for security reason, then that would be a “dead end,” Lacson said.
Asked whether the committee could hold executive sessions for the witnesses, he replied in the affirmative.
On the Jee case, he said the committee would hear out Gerardo Santiago, the owner of the funeral home where the body of the Korean businessman was brought for cremation after the latter was killed inside the PNP headquarters inside Camp Crame in Quezon City. His committee will also call the “striker” or errand boy of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who admitted helping in the surveillance of Jee in 2016
This as Lacson urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the NBI to make a quiet investigation and to make joint media announcements if they have a strong breakthrough in their case, following PNP chief Ronald “Bato Dela Rosa’s announcement that Jee might have been killed by the Korean mafia.
He said as far as he knew, no evidence has emerged that a Korean mafia was behind Jee’s killing.
“It would be perceived well by the people if the two prime investigating agencies were united in their investigations,” he also said. SFM
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