KOREAN mafia in Cebu? That’s rightly a question rather than a declaration, considering the meager proof that the authorities can provide on the matter. One can even ask why law enforcers like the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7 are talking about it only now after President Rodrigo Duterte made the claim last Saturday. Were they the ones who fed the President the information?
The supposed existence of a “Korean mafia” surfaced when an unidentified police officer who claimed to be formerly with the now disbanded Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) linked it to the killing by rogue cops of Korean national Jee Ick-Joo. PNP Chief Ronald de la Rosa later told reporters he heard about the “Korean mafia” that is allegedly operating in Central Luzon. President Duterte’s “Korean mafia” operates in Cebu.
“I’ve always heard from intelligence sources that in Cebu, with all due respect to the South Korean government, they are the ones controlling drugs and prostitution,” the President told reporters.
There are many intelligence units in Cebu but since the President didn’t provide details about the information he got, we can’t be sure who fed that to him. Interestingly, PDEA 7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz tried picking up from where the President left off.
Here’s what he told SunStar Superbalita: “We caught a Korean national last September who posed as a tourist guide and was also found to be selling drugs among his clients. That is an indicator that there is a syndicate moving underground in Cebu City.” He also claimed to have gotten an information about this in 2009 when he was still the PDEA 7 deputy director.
“One swallow,” according to the great Aristotle, “does not a summer make.” Similarly, the arrest of a Korean national selling drugs does not necessarily mean a syndicate, or a Korean mafia, already exists in Cebu and that it controls the drug trade and operates a prostitution ring here. And if the information came to Ruiz in 2009 yet, it is a wonder why throughout all these years the existence of a “Korean mafia” remained Cebu’s best kept secret.