By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte said he felt ashamed when asked by South Korean authorities early this month why are their nationals dying when they visit the Philippines.
Duterte, in a speech in Panglao, Bohol, said that he was embarrassed when the death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo was brought up during his visit to Seoul early this month.
“Noong nagpunta ako ng Korea, doon kami nagka… eh nahiya ako (When I visited Korea, I was embarrassed). [They asked] ‘Why is it that our citizens whom you are trying to invite to visit you are being killed in the military camps?’ Puta hindi ko masagot-sagot, sa totoo lang. Nakaka-insulto na (I was not able to answer, to be honest. It was very insulting),” Duterte said Thursday.
Jee was reportedly abducted by the police from his house Angeles, Pampanga in October, 2016 in an operation guised as Oplan Tokhang. Aside from kidnapping, the suspects also took the victim’s car and some pieces of jewelry.
The kidnappers then asked Jee’s wife Choi Kyung-jin for P8 million in exchange for her husband. Choi was able to give the suspects P5 million but when they failed to give proof of life, she opted the seek the help of the authorities.
Three months later, Jee was discovered dead by the authorities and allegedly cremated in a funeral parlor in Caloocan City. It was reported that he was killed inside Camp Crame.
Jee’s murder also resulted to Duterte to strip the Philippine National Police (PNP) off their authority in the drug war, and the dissolution of all anti-illegal drugs groups in the PNP.
During his visit to Korea, the protection of Filipinos and Korean was among the topics discussed by the Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their closed-door talks at the Blue House.
In his Thursday speech, Duterte said that his Seoul visit prompted him to allow only Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente to talk and/or accost to tourists.
“Pag-uwi ko sabi ko (When I got home I said), it’s only Morente who’s the chief of Immigration, who can order these men special authority to…” he said.
He also warned the police and other immigration officers not to test him as he would not hesitate to remove fire them.
“Pagka ang turista (When the tourist is) either Chinese or Korean, you are not allow to accost anybody, any tourist for that matter. ‘Yang mga (Those from the) immigration stop it. Moment na may nabalitaan ako (The moment that I heard you doing it), go out. I will dismiss you,” Duterte warned.
“Ayan kasi. May Koreano. Diba? ‘Yung mga Koreano ina-accost tapos, minsan suspect ganoon. Tapos pinatay pa sa kampo, doon sa pulis (Because there was a Korean, right? He was accosted as a main suspect. Then he was killed inside the police camp),” he said.
“Police, lahat, army, lahat, no. lahat wala. ‘Wag ninyong pakialaman ang mga turista. Maski tingin-tingin diyan sa. Nabwisit ako diyan. ‘Pag nagawa mo ‘yan pasensiya ka (No one is allowed, not even the police or the army. Do not meddle with the tourists., not even try to check their bags. If you do that, then sorry),” he added.