MANILA—A Senator on Thursday called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to look into the alleged “pattern” of destroying evidence by suspects involved in the abduction-killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Sen. Grace Poe, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said authorities should investigate the records of the funeral home where Jee’s remains were brought to determine if remains being brought there match with death certificates
“Whoever was in charge (of the investigation) would have been more proactive about this because this is how they are hiding or destroying evidence, through this funeral parlor,” Poe said.
Poe was referring to Gream Funeral Homes which is located in Barangay 165 in Bagbaguin, Caloocan City and owned by former cop-turned village chief Gerardo Gregorio Santiago.
It was earlier reported that Jee’s ashes were flushed down the toilet last January 16, three months after his remains were cremated in a different facility and just a few days after Santiago flew to Canada.
Santiago, when questioned by Poe, refused to answer whether he was the one who ordered his staff at his funeral home to dispose of Jee’s ashes and instead invoked his right against self-incrimination.
Poe said that his refusal to answer the question made answers clear and told him that if he didn’t do it, he could have easily denied it.
NBI assistant director Medardo Delemos said that according to the affidavit of an employee of Gream Funeral Homes, Epephay Gotera, it was Santiago who ordered the funeral staff to flush Jee’s ashes.
Meanwhile, NBI director Dante Gierran pointed out a clear violation of Santiago’s funeral parlor which deliberately failed to notify them about Jee’s death so that the NBI could have conducted an autopsy.
Gierran said the Gream Funeral Homes should have notified NBI to conduct an autopsy especially if the death was questionable stressing that it is accredited under the NBI.
Santiago, village chief of Barangay 165-Bagbaguin in Caloocan City, fled to Canada on January 11, a few days after the kidnap-slay of Jee was reported in the media.
He used to be the deputy chief of the Caloocan City Police with the rank of Senior Police Officer 4 before he took optional retirement in 2004.
Jee was abducted from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga, on Oct. 18, 2016, and was killed inside Camp Crame on the same day.
Earlier reports said that Jee was cremated at the St. Nathaniel Crematory in La Loma, Quezon City as Jose Ruamar Salvador, a Filipino, of Champaca St., Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City, with a staff of Gream Funeral identifying herself as representative of Jee’s family and making a reservation for cremation.
Jee’s ashes were later brought to Santiago’s funeral home.