MANILA –The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday approved the filing of kidnap for ransom with homicide charges against two active police officers and five others in connection to the kidnapping of a South Korean national in Angeles City, Pampanga last October.
In a seven-page resolution, the DOJ found probable cause to file kidnapping for ransom with homicide raps against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Ramon Yalung and four people identified only under the aliases “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding” in relation to the disappearance of businessman Jee Ick Joo.
The DOJ said that the kidnapping and serious illegal detention complaints filed by the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) against the suspects was upgraded to kidnapping for ransom with homicide due to the testimonies of SPO4 Roy Villegas and Jee’s housemaid Marisa Morquicho.
Morquicho said in her sworn statement that together with Jee was taken by two unidentified men who introduced themselves as police officers from their house in Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016.
She said while on their way to Manila, the men informed her that Jee was involved in illegal drug activities.
She noted that they passed by the Quezon City Memorial Circle until they reached a place where she saw several men wearing “Pulis” T-shirts.
Morquicho then reported the incident to the PNP-AKG in Camp Crame upon her release from captivity on the morning of the following day.
The PNP-AKG provided two cartographic sketch of the persons involved in the kidnapping were Morquicho identified Yalung as one of the kidnappers while she identified Sta. Isabel as the same person who abducted the South Korean national.
Meanwhile, two police officers identified as SPO4 Roy Villegas and PO2 Christopher Baldovino both assigned in PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) appeared on Jan. 16 in Camp Crame for protection custody and executed their respective sworn statements narrating in detail their knowledge of the incident involving the victim. They pointed to Sta. Isabel and his co-conspirators as the ones who killed the victim.
The DOJ resolution stated that Baldovino joined the operation as he believed then that such is a legitimate police operation against the herein victim who, according to Sta. Isabel is involved in illegal drugs.
Villegas gave a detailed narration of the abduction and the eventual killing of the victims.
Villegas further said that Sta. Isabel was the one who brought a packaging tape and surgical gloves and ordered them to cover the head of the victim and follow him instead of Dumlao.
“He finally recalls seeing respondent Sta. Isabel strangling and killing the victim,” the DOJ resolution stated.
After the victim was killed, Villegas said Sta. Isabel called a certain “Ding” who agreed to receive the body in exchange for PHP30,000 and a golf set. Then, the body was brought to the funeral parlor in Caloocan.
Villegas reiterated that he thought all along that the surveillance and police operations which he participated in are legitimate police operations.
“When he realized it, he did not resist and instead, he obeyed the instruction of respondent Sta. Isabel for fear of his life and that of his family,” the same resolution stated.
Choi Kyunghin, wife of Jee, 53, said his husband was forcibly taken by eight armed men on Oct. 18 from his residence and has not been located until now.
His family paid PHP5 million ransom money on Oct. 30 but he was never released.
The abductors asked for an additional PHP4 million but failed to produce proof that the victim is still alive, prompting Choi to seek the police’s assistance.
Choi has already offered a PHP100,000 reward for anyone who could give information on the whereabouts of her husband.
“As the victim was killed during and in course of his detention, respondents who acted in conspiracy are liable for the special complex crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide. The special complex of kidnapping for ransom with homicide is committed when the person was killed on the occasion, in connection, in the course of or subsequent to his detention, regardless of whter the killing was puposely sought or was merely an afterthough. In this case, it was respondent Sta. Isabel who killed the victim by strangulation,“ said the resolution signed by Senior State Prosecutors Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas and Lilian Doris Seranilla-Alejo and approved by Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda.
In a related development, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II issued an immigration lookout bulletin order against Sta. Isabel.
Immigration officers are now tasked to watch out for Sta. Isabel and contact the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and other law enforcement agencies if they see him trying to get on a flight to another country.
On Tuesday evening, the NBI, together with the Caloocan police went to the funeral parlor after receiving information that the Jee’s body was taken to the said place on the same day he was abducted on Oct. 18, 2016.
However, no body was recovered at the funeral parlor. Jee’s body has been cremated last year.
Sta. Isabel, who is currently under protective custody of the NBI, has given details to probers during interrogation.
Aguirre said Sta. Isabel can be under the coverage of the government’s witness protection program because he knows everything about the incident as he confessed his participation to the crime and pinpointed other police officers involved.