Aguirre links embassy people to Jee slay case

THE resumption on Thursday of the Senate hearing on the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo created more confusion as a result of the contradictory statements of the authorities on the suspects.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said the suspects in the case could include some people from the South Korean Embassy.

He told the Senate public order committee led by Senator Panfilo Lacson that Jee’s abduction from his Angeles City residence on Oct. 18 last year and his killing inside Camp Crame could be the handiwork of some people from the South Korean Embassy. 

Citing a former NBI official he did not identify, Aguirre said several people from the South Korean Embassy had been “compromised” by the Korean mafia.

But the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group  on Thursday said no Korean mafia was involved in the case.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II
NBI Assistant Director Medardo De Lemos said although there were some Korean organized groups in the country, “at the moment we cannot categorically state a positive or negative answer. We cannot say that a Korean mafia had a hand in the Jee Ick Joo case.”

PNP-AKG director Glenn Dumlao said he shared the De Lemos’ views.

“There are some Koreans who are engaged in illegal activities, but it’s not a Korean mafia that is actually involved,” Dumlao said. 

He made his statement even as the NBI recommended the prosecution of several policemen and civilians after the bureau came out with its  findings on Jee’s abduction and killing―and despite an appeal from Jee’s wife that the NBI keep its hands off the case.

Aguirre said he had earlier met a former NBI official who told him the scope of the Korean mafia was wide, and that even some people  in the Korean Embassy had already been compromised by the mafia.

“And then we heard from Colonel [Rafael] Dumlao when being investigated that the people, the Korean mafia, are so big that we will have difficulty,” Aguirre said.

He said that during a meeting with Jee’s wife Choi Kyung Jin, the South Korean consulate and its political attaché, the Korean officials told him to “stop any further investigation” in connection with the “mafia.”

“We’re not yet done with it. I’m just wondering why they want to stop it [the investigation]  that could lead to a possible theory that he was really ordered killed. 

As a result, Aguirre said, he asked the authorities to dig deeper into the alleged  involvement of a Korean mafia in the death of Jee.

But Senator Bam Aquino IV cautioned Aguirre about his allegations on the South Korean Embassy people. He said the South Korean ambassador to the Philippines should be allowed to give a “proper response.”

Aguirre said Jee was kidnapped twice by the “Korean mafia” or “Korean Yakuza” in the country. 

“I don’t know what name they call it. I would like to ask, although I’m not an investigator, we need to pursue every theory of the case,” he said.  

Topics: Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II , Jee Ick Joo , South Korean Embassy , Senator Panfilo Lacson , Senator Bam Aquino IV , Korean mafia , Glenn Dumlao , Medardo De Lemos
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