MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine government apologized to South Korea on Tuesday for the reported killing of a South Korean man at the country's main police camp, a crime that has tainted law enforcers carrying out the president's controversial anti-drug crackdown.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, Ernesto Abella, offered the government's condolences to the widow of Jee Ickjoo and pledged to ensure that justice is served and not delayed.
"We apologize to the South Korean government and people for this irreparable loss," Abella said at a news conference. "To the Korean people, please accept our sincerest and deepest regrets."
South Korean officials have expressed alarm over the killing of Jee, the latest in a growing number of Koreans who have been targeted by criminals and Muslim militants in the Philippines.
National police chief Ronald Dela Rosa has said policemen, including two who belonged to an anti-drug task force, kidnapped Jee and his Filipina house helper at his house in Angeles city north of Manila using a fake arrest warrant with the intent of obtaining a ransom, but killed him the same day.
They then extracted a ransom payment from Jee's wife without telling her he was dead. The house helper was later freed, said Dela Rosa, who has also apologized for the involvement of his men in the crime.
Two police suspects are in custody and are among those charged with Jee's kidnapping and killing, officials said.
Dela Rosa has faced calls for his resignation but Duterte has continued to back him.