Pimentel: Jee Ick Joo kidnap-slay 'serious setback' for NBI
MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III expressed disappointment in the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) following the alleged involvement of its officials in the killing of a Korean businessman last year, calling it a "serious setback" in the bid to modernize the agency.
In a statement on Saturday, February 4, Pimentel said he is "deeply disappointed" that the NBI is "squandering a precious opportunity it has been given to enhance its capability" through a law he sponsored and co-authored that modernizes the investigative body.
"This is a serious setback. The NBI has to do some housecleaning to regain public trust," Pimentel added.
Some NBI agents were allegedly involved in the kidnapping and murder of South Korean Jee Ick Joo in October 2016, as claimed by one of the policemen accused of involvement in the crime. However, a suspect disputed that claim, saying that he was "only a volunteer of the NBI."
The NBI reassigned at least 4 NBI officials amid the allegations. (READ: Jee Ick Joo case: Tangled webs, inconsistent stories)
The supposed involvement of ranking NBI officials, said Pimentel, "has the effect of reversing the direction that we want a modern NBI to achieve."
Pimentel is the principal sponsor and a co-author of Republic Act 10867 or the NBI Reorganization and Modernization Act, signed into law in June 2016.
The Senate President added that it was "not enough" that NBI director Dante Gierran reassigned the suspected officials.
"New technology and improved methods of investigation and crime-detection will not work if the human component is defective," said Pimentel. "The NBI has to retrain personnel and weed out the misfits."
Gierran should likewise take a "firmer stand in imposing discipline on NBI personnel and avoid another embarrassment to the government," Pimentel continued.
Malacañang apologized to the South Korean government for Jee's death at the hands of local police, and expressed President Rodrigo Duterte's condolences to Mrs Choi Kyung-jin, the widow of Jee. – Rappler.com