PO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel did not only arrange the cremation of Jee Ick-joo, the officer also dumped at the Gream Funeral Homes like a piece of garbage the body of the South Korean who was strangled inside Camp Crame the same night he was abducted last Oct. 18, according to the mortuary owner, Gerardo Santiago.
Santiago, a former police officer, submitted his affidavit and camera footage to the Department of Justice to prove this, according to a source privy to the investigation.
“The footage shows Sta. Isabel’s HiLux and Jee’s Ford Explorer arriving at the site on the night the businessman was killed,” the source said, adding that Santiago’s testimony could be used to indict Sta. Isabel, the principal accused in the kidnap-slaying of the Korean businessman.
The source, who read the affidavit, added that according to Santiago, Jee’s body was lodged at the back of the Explorer, and was dumped like garbage in front of Gream. Then, the team of policemen driving the Explorer sped off.
Sta. Isabel stayed behind to give Santiago P30,000. The original price for cremation services, he said, was P50,000 but Sta. Isabel insisted that he could only pay P30,000.
“Santiago noted that if there’s a P5-million ransom money, and if he’s really part of the scheme, then Sta. Isabel would no longer ask for a discount,” the source said.
Santiago said he did not know that the victim was Jee, and that he only accommodated Sta. Isabel that night out of pakikisama (a sense of camaraderie) and brotherhood because he was a former policeman,” the source said.
According to the source, before the policemen arrived, Sta. Isabel called Santiago and claimed that a man killed in a police operation would be taken to Gream that night. Sta. Isabel’s strict order was to have Jee’s body cremated.
The source added that Sta. Isabel was in a rush to dispose of Jee’s remains that he immediately called Santiago the next day to verify if the body had already been cremated.
Santiago said he found Sta. Isabel’s action suspicious. But he did not ask further “since it has been a practice among cops to bring dead bodies of suspects in different funeral homes.”
He also denied being friends with Sta. Isabel’s superior and coaccused, Supt. Rafael Dumlao, the alleged mastermind behind Jee’s abduction and murder.
Santiago said he first met Dumlao last August or September, also through Sta. Isabel.
“Since Santiago was a barangay captain, Sta. Isabel and Dumlao went to him and asked if there were any Chinese drug lords in his barangay. The cops told Santiago that they want to arrest Chinese drug lords,” the source said.
The next time Santiago talked to Dumlao was on Jan. 15.
“Dumlao went to Gream, but Santiago was out of the country. Dumlao left his number and asked Gream’s manager to tell Santiago to call him,” the source said.
“Dumlao said it was urgent so Santiago, who was in Canada, called the police official. Over the phone, Dumlao informed Santiago about Jee and accused Sta. Isabel of kidnapping and killing the Korean businessman,” the source said.