Lito Banayo: The Philippines and Taiwan are working so well on law enforcement cooperation

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(photo composed by Taiwan News)

(photo composed by Taiwan News)

Cooperation between law enforcement agencies of the Philippines and Taiwan have reached new heights during the past year with the series of successful operations that have brought high-profile criminals before the bar of justice.

In May last year, Taiwan police tracked and apprehended high-profile fugitive Ricardo Parojinog Jr. in his hideout in Pingtung, a fishing village south of the island.

Parojinog, wanted on drug charges, fled to Taiwan purportedly posing as a fisherman to escape from Philippines authorities.

Philippine National Police intelligence operatives, however, received a tip regarding Parojinog’s movements and immediately coordinated with counterparts in Taiwan.

Sparing no time, Taiwan police tapped into its own intelligence network and traced Parojinog in the multi-story apartment building where he was staying and captured him. He was eventually turned over to Philippine authorities to face trial.

A few months later, it was the Philippines’ turn to help Taiwan in pursuing a suspect in a high-profile case involving an Israeli-American immigrant who, along with several accomplices, murdered a Canadian national whom they suspected of having turned to authorities regarding their drug dealing activities.

The incident drew national attention for its gruesomeness with Oren Shlomo Mayer and another suspect chopping their victim’s body into pieces and discarding them in the city’s riverbanks in an attempt to hide the crime.

Mayer fled to the Philippines before Taiwanese police could arrest him but swift coordination with the PNP Directorate for Intelligence led to his immediate arrest in Cainta, Rizal in September 2018.

Just recently, before Taiwan celebrates the Lunar New Year, another fugitive from Taiwan, former Tainan County council speaker Wu Chien Pao was arrested in Taguig City after evading authorities for more than four years.

Wu was meted prison time in 2014 for involvement in a baseball game fixing scandal but eluded the sentence by fleeing to the Philippines.

Efficient cooperation between Philippines and Taiwan authorities led anew to Wu’s arrest inside the Subic free port zone.

I was told that many other cases are still on the desks of these counterpart agencies—the Taiwan National Police Administration, Criminal Investigation Bureau and the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau and the Philippines’ national police, drug enforcement agency and National Bureau of Investigation—being worked on. These, however, are cloaked in secrecy to ensure operational effectiveness.

Friends from law enforcement admit that this high-level of cooperation has never been this fruitful since the time of then PNP chief and now Senator Panfilo Lacson, who curbed the rash of kidnappings of Filipino-overseas Chinese businessmen at that time.

Today, the new and greater public enemy which is the proliferation of illegal drugs transcends international boundaries, which requires, more so, greater cooperation between Philippine and foreign law enforcement agencies.

To the men and women of Philippines and Taiwan law enforcement agencies, congratulations and keep up the good work!