MALACAÑANG is taking in stride the sentiments expressed by South Korean presidential hopeful Moon Jae-In against President Rodrigo Duterte on the kidnap-murder of businessman Jee Ick Joo
Moon Jae-In had hit Duterte for “lack of action” on the murder of the Korean national.
“Well, we understand where the South Koreans are coming from. They feel deeply about it. And the President has also expressed his deepest and profoundest apologies,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in his regular briefing yesterday in Malacañang.
Abella however said “...Let us be cognizant of the fact that it’s being spoken by a political hopeful. So it may be nuanced by some interests.”
Duterte has apologized to the South Koreans over the incident and vowed that the suspects will serve maximum punishment if proven guilty
Moon Jae-in, the leading presidential hopeful from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), criticized the Philippine president for not taking responsible action on the abduction and murder of a Korean businessman by local policemen.
He called the inaction “diplomatic disrespect.”
Moon’s condemnation came after President Duterte continued his support for the country’s police chief despite the case where the Korean man was killed in a fake anti-drug operation by Philippine police officers.
“An innocent Korean was killed in the Philippines again. It’s quite a shock that this time incumbent police officers were involved and the murder was committed within the police headquarters,” Moon said on Facebook, Tuesday.
“What’s more shocking is that President Duterte did not hold the police chief, who faces growing calls to resign from the Philippine people, responsible but rather participated in his birthday party.”
Calling such an attitude diplomatic rudeness, Moon said, “I sternly request the Philippine government — as a friend — to take responsible measures based on constitutionalism.”
The presidential contender also called for the Korean government to deal with the issue more actively, saying, “With such a serious issue happening, acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are not bringing it up. They are giving up the state’s duty which should prioritize protecting its people.”
Meanwhile, Ambassador Jae-Shin Kim said many of his compatriots were “upset” and may now be “reluctant” to visit the Philippines following the incident.
But he said Seoul was looking at ways to “control the damage” and “calm down the feeling of the people.”
“This is an enormous shock to the Korean community,” he told reporters after meeting with Duterte, who graced the ceremonial switch-on of a coal-fired power plant here.
“Of course, the Korean people are very, very upset and we are embarrassed such a heinous crime is committed.”
The Philippines is a popular destination for Korean tourists who spent P5.65 billion in November 2016 alone, according to the Department of Tourism.
Duterte on Thursday personally apologized to Kim, who was seated among the audience here, vowing that those behind the killing “will suffer.”