PRESIDENTIAL legal counsel Salvador Panelo and presidential spokesman Ernie Abella separately expressed opinion on the killing of South Korean national Jee Ick-joo inside Camp Crame.

Police abducted Jee from his house in Angeles City, Pampanga and strangled him to death after his family paid him P5 million ransom.

Panelo said the administration “won’t tolerate” any police abuse and will prosecute police scalawags, guess how, “to the full extent of the law.” Abella said “we are outraged.” There will be “no whitewash, no cover-up” for any “corrupt, abusive, or errant” cops.

Is that not enough assurance? Sen. Grace Poe wants President Duterte himself to give it.

Mouthpieces

Duterte, so far, was heard from only through his mouthpieces and allies with whom the kidnapping-for-ransom ransom and murder was raised to the president: PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said Duterte was “very angry”: a governor at a meeting with governors heard Duterte say the criminal cops “are not my people.”

More recently, news reports said Duterte decided “Bato” would stay and shouldn’t quit over the scandal in Crame. No scathing blast on the the police abomination.

His spokespersons are doing the talking. People wonder if Duterte wouldn’t take the same stance he assumed when a town mayor suspected of drug trafficking was killed in a Leyte jail. Duterte believed the cops, not the NBI.

Common elements

But police who dishonored their oath and desecrated Camp Crame’s name were not waging war on drugs, they were using the “war” to make money by kidnapping and ransom. Hold it, didn’t the Leyte jail raiders allegedly kill the mayor to eliminate him as a witness against police linked to the drug trade? Common elements in the two murders: use of uniform and badge, the drug war as excuse and cover, and personal profit.

Poe may be right in calling on Duterte himself to express “outrage” and make a “forceful condemnation.”

The president could draw a much clearer and more visible line beyond which persons in uniform armed with the state’s might would not be allowed to cross and exploit the much-vaunted drug campaign to commit and cover up their dastardly work.