EVIDENCE – A set of golf clubs, said to belong to South Korean Jee Ick-Joo and used as payment to Gerardo Gregorio Santiago, owner of the funeral home where Jee’s body was kept after he was murdered, is presented to the media at the Anti-Kidnapping Group headquarters in Camp Crame on Thursday.
Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors have found probable cause to indict seven suspects, including policemen, in the kidnap-for-ransom and killing of Korean Jee Ick-Joo, who was killed at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
In a seven-page resolution dated January 17, DOJ prosecutors recommended charged for kidnapping for ransom with homicide SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalong and four other “John Does” known only through the aliases Pulis, Jerry, Sir Dumlao, and Ding.
DOJ prosecutors will file the criminal case in Angeles City, Pampanga.
“As the victim was killed during and in the course of his detention, respondents who acted in conspiracy are liable for the special complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide,” read the resolution prepared by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Lilian Doris Seranilla-Alejo and approved by Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda.
“In this case, it was respondent Sta. Isabel who killed the victim by strangulation,” stressed prosecutors who cited the sworn affidavits of Villegas and PO2 Christopher Baldovino, both members of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) like Sta. Isabel.
DOJ prosecutors pointed out in the affidavit of Villegas that on October 18, Jee and his househelper Household helper, Marissa Morquicho were taken to Camp Crame where they were later separated.
“From the residence of the victim, they proceeded to Camp Crame where the female person was transferred to the car of respondent Sta. Isabel,” prosecutors said.
After getting packaging tape and surgical gloves, Sta. Isabel instructed them to cover the head of Jee with packaging tape.
When Villegas questioned the order, Sta. Isabel only told him to do what he said.
“He (Villegas) finally recalls seeing respondent Sta. Isabel strangling the victim,” the prosecutors said.
“Thereafter, respondent called up Ding who agreed to receive the body of the victim in exchange for P30,000 and a golf set. They took the body of the victim to a funeral parlor. They also disposed the cellular phones of the victim and the female person upon the instruction of respondent Sta. Isabel,” they added.
Morquicho cited in her sworn affidavit that she and her employer Jee were taken on October 18 from the Korean’s house in Friendship Plaza Subdivision, Angeles City, Pampanga under the pretext that police were conducting anti-illegal drugs operations under “Oplan Tokhang.” Morquicho was released the following morning in Cubao, Quezon City.
In her sworn statement, Jee’s wife, Kyungjin Choi, said the abductors called her up and demanded P8 million ransom. She delivered P5 million, but decided against paying the P3 million balance and instead sought help from the PNP when the kidnappers failed to show that her husband was still alive.
The PNP’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) and Jee’s wife initially filed at the DOJ a kidnapping and serious illegal detention case against the suspects.
DOJ prosecutors decided to include homicide in the case based on the sworn statements of Villegas and Baldovino, who both appeared before the AKG on January 16 for protection.
“The narration of Marisa Morquicho and that of SPO4 Villegas narrating in detail how respondents abducted and killed victim is sufficient to establish that the victim was kidnapped and his liberty was restrained against his will,” prosecutors pointed out.
In their separate sworn statements, Villegas and Baldovino claimed that Sta. Isabel made them believe that they were conducting legitimate operations against Jee whom Sta. Isabel claimed was involved in illegal drugs.
With the DOJ prosecutors’ findings, Sta. Isabel will no longer be used as state witness.
“We will not put Sta. Isabel under our Witness Protection Program (WPP),” read a text message from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday.
Earlier, Aguirre admitted that they have considered turning Sta. Isabel as state witness because of how much he knows about the kidnapping of Jee.
Aguirre clarified yesterday that he never made a commitment to place him under the WPP.
“There was no change of heart. I never said I will put him under the WPP,” read his reply.
Sta. Isabel is currently under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after surrendering last Sunday.
Via: Manila Bulletin