SENATOR Panfilo Lacson has suspended the Senate’s hearings on “tokhang for ransom” incidents involving police scalawags amid the Duterte administration’s move to restructure the war on illegal drugs by going after rogue cops first.
Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, held last week a public hearing on the alleged involvement of some policemen in the kidnap-murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo last October 18.
He is supposed to continue the investigation on February 2 to allow other personalities allegedly involved in the Jee kidnap-murder case to shed light on the incident such as SPO4 Roy Villegas; Gerardo Santiago, the owner of the funeral parlor where Jee’s body was brought; and Jinky Sta. Isabel, the wife of SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, the prime suspect in the abduction and killing of Jee.
But Lacson has decided to suspend the probe. It would be wise that the Senate wait and see how the major changes in the anti-drug war will work out, he said.
“In view of the massive restructuring of the war against drugs to focus on rogue cops as ordered by the President, it is my view that the Senate wait and see how this latest development plays out. Having said that, I am suspending the hearings on the ‘tokhang for ransom’ issue,” said Lacson.
“After all, the President (Rodrigo Duterte) has taken a positive action on the matter and I feel that the committee on public order and dangerous drugs has partially achieved one of the purposes of its legislative inquiry. It is now time to attend to the pertinent legislative measures referred to the committee,” he added.
At last week’s Senate investigation, Lacson had played a closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage which showed alleged rogue policemen planting drugs in a BPO (business process outsourcing) office that they supposedly raided in search of illegal drugs.
Lacson said he had the video played to stress the need for internal cleansing in the PNP, which he headed from 1999 to 2001. He will focus on pieces of legislation that may “minimize” abuses by police personnel in conducting anti-crime operations.
These include bills on the training of police personnel as well as the strengthening of the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service.