MANILA –Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will continue to investigate the possible involvement of an alleged “Korean mafia” in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
Aguirre said he already met with South Korean Ambassador of the Philippines Kim Jae Shin on Friday wherein the latter has given his consent for the pursuit of the “Korean mafia” angle.
”I explained to our friends from the Korean Embassy in the Philippines my reasons for believing in the existence and in the possible involvement of a Korean Mafia in the abduction and death of the Korean National, Mr. Jee Ick Joo,” Aguirre said.
”In the end, after I relayed some confidential information to him, the Korean Ambassador of the Philippines, His Excellency Kim Jae Shin, gave the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the go signal to investigate any involvement of the Korean Mafia, if any, in the abduction and in the killing of the Korean National, Mr. Jee Ick Joo,” he noted.
He also explained to them that as the Secretary of Justice, it is his responsibility to bring justice to the victims and to bring to courts the criminals.
Aguirre tasked the NBI to explore all angles and possible leads.
The South Korean embassy earlier slammed Aguirre for making “misleading statements” about the existence of a so-called ‘Korean mafia’ at a Senate hearing last week
“Even some people in the Korean embassy have been compromised by the Korean mafia,” the Justice secretary said without providing evidence on his claim.
Aguirre said he hopes this issue was already clarified during the meeting.
“We also renewed our respective commitments to work towards a better and stronger Philippine-South Korean relations,” he said.
The DOJ is currently conducting a preliminary reinvestigation on the kidnapping for ransom with homicide earlier filed against policemen tagged in Jee’s abduction – Senior Police Officer 2 Ricky Sta. Isabel, Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas and Ramon Yalung as respondents along with four others with aliases “Sir Dumlao, Jerry, Ding and Pulis.
Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, official of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), and three NBI officials – former NBI deputy director for investigation services Jose “Jojo” Yap; former National Capital Region (NCR) director Ricardo Diaz and former Task Force against Illegal Drugs head Roel Bolivar – have also been named new respondents in the charges.
The DOJ panel set the next hearing on March 2 at 2 p.m. where the respondents are set to file their respective counter-affidavits in response to the accusations against them.
To recall, the Jan. 17 resolution penned by Torrevillas only named three accused in the kidnapping for ransom with homicide case: Sta. Isabel, Villegas and Yalung while other suspects tagged in the case were identified only through aliases “Pulis,” “Ding,” “Jerry,” and “Sir Dumlao.”
The resolution was received by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 58. The local court granted primary suspect Sta. Isabel’s request for reinvestigation.
RTC Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. , gave the DOJ 60 days “to conduct the reinvestigation and to submit the resolution.
The court also reset the arraignment of the accused to April 19.