MANILA –The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday issued subpoenas to eight individuals, including five active policemen, involved in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
This after Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr., of Branch 58 Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Pampanga directed the DOJ to conduct a reinvestigation on charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel and eight others.
Subpoenas were issued to Sta. Isabel; former PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group – Pampanga (AIDG) head Superintendent Rafael Dumlao; SPO4 Roy Villegas; SPO4 Ramon Yalung; PO2 Christopher Baldovino; striker or errand boy from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Jerry Omlang alias ‘Jerry’; Gerardo “Ding” Santiago, owner of Gream Funeral Homes and Christopher Alan Gruenberg, the owner of the Nissan Exalta that was allegedly in the convoy of vehicles used in abducting Jee.
Santiago was the owner of the funeral parlor in Caloocan City where Jee’s body was brought after he was killed reportedly inside the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame while Omlang was the “errand boy’ at the National Bureau of Investigation who admitted his participation in the abduction of the Korean businessman by conducting surveillance on him.
He also said he was the one seen at a CCTV footage withdrawing money from Jee’s ATM account.
Omlang said he was invited by Sta. Isabel, who happens to be his long-time friend, to join in the job.
Santiago and Omlang have already surrendered to the NBI while Sta. Isabel was also brought to the bureau after the Angeles City court ordered his transfer from the PNP.
The respondents are expected to appear during the re-investigation of the case at Executive Meeting room 1 in DOJ on Friday at 2 p.m. and answer the complaints against them.
The DOJ panel composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Olivia Torrevillas.
“Under and by virtue of the authority vested in me by law and pursuant to the order of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City Branch 58 dated January 30, 2017 you are hereby summoned to appear at the Executive Meeting Room 1, Department of Justice, Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila on February 3, 2017 at 2p.m. in connection with the reinvestigation of the above-entitled case,’ said the order signed by Navera.
The DOJ also issued a subpoena to the NBI Investigators Attys. Julio Cajigan, Eufemio Martines, Emelito Santos, Agent Mamerto Tello, Special Investigators Nestor Gutierrez and Allan Elepante, Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-Kidnapping Group head Senior Superintendent Glenn Dumlao, Jee’s wife Choi Kyungjin, PNP-AKG member SPO3 Reynaldo Curampez and Senior Inspector Jonathan Rabanal.
Last Monday, Pangilinan directed the DOJ to conduct a reinvestigation on charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide against Sta. Isabel and submit the resolution within 60 days or until March 3.
The court also reset the arraignment of the accused to April 19.
Sta. Isabel claimed that he was deprived of his constitutional right to due process after the DOJ filed the non-bailable case before the court without informing him of his right to disprove the allegations during preliminary investigation.
He lamented that the DOJ hurriedly issued a resolution on the charges last Jan. 17 and subsequently filed the case in court when he was notified that the hearing for his submission of answer was set on Feb. 6 and 13.
”Accused SPO3 Sta. Isabel, in the interest of justice and fair play, prays and begs for the kind indulgence of this Honorable Court to order the reinvestigation of the instant case against him. The Information was hastily filed without giving him the chance to file his counter affidavit together with the documents to refute the baseless complaint filed against him,” the motion stated.
Last Jan. 16, Sta. Isabel surrendered with the NBI to ask for protective custody after being tagged as one of the suspects in the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman.
The warrant for the arrest was served on Jan. 20 by the member of the PNP-AKG at the NBI. After the service of the warrant, SPO3 Sta. Isabel’s custody was transferred and presently detained at PNP Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
Jee’s wife, Choi Kyunghin, 53, said his husband was forcibly taken by eight armed men on Oct. 18 from his residence and had 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 was still alive, prompting Choi to seek police’s assistance.
Last Jan. 17, the NBI, together with the Caloocan police went to the funeral parlor after receiving information that Jee’s body was taken there on the same day he was abducted on Oct. 18, 2016. No body was recovered as Jee’s body had been cremated last year.