SC rules vs INC contractor wanted in Korea
The Supreme Court has ruled that a Korean fugitive wanted for stealing $200-million from his company in Korea is not entitled to protection against government authorities running after him.
With a 13-0 vote, the high court ruled that Ja Hoon Ku, a contractor of the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s (INC) Philippine Arena, is not entitled to a writ of amparo.
Amparo is a rule of procedure that is anchored on one’s right to life, liberty and security. A writ of amparo is meant to force government authorities to disclose details concerning extrajudicial killing or enforced disappearance.
Earlier, Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Paulino Gallegos granted the writ of amparo sought by Ku. Then, on January 28, 2014, the court issued a temporary protection order entrusting Ku’s custody to the Philippine National Red Cross and ordered the Philippine National Police-Security and Protection Group (PNP-PSPG) to protect Ku and his immediate family.
Bureau of Immigration Chief Siegfred Mison went to the Supreme Court questioning the lower court’s order. On February 4, 2014, the Supreme Court restrained the order of Gallegos and ruled that Ku remain in the BI’s custody, where he had been since he was arrested on January 16, 2014.
Immigration and Manila police operatives arrested Ku on the request of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) of Seoul, South Korea.
Because of the high court’s order, the BI urged the lower court to dismiss the case filed by Ku. But despite the Supreme Court’s ruling, the lower court denied the BI’s motion for lack of merit which prompted the agency to file another petition before the high tribunal.
Meanwhile, Ku filed an appeal before the Office of the President that he be not deported. Subsequently, the lower court and Malacañang ordered the release of Ku in two separate orders dated March 14 and March 19, respectively. The lower court also ordered the release of Ku’s passport which had already been cancelled by the Korean government.
The Supreme Court, in its ruling made public Wednesday, said Ku’s claim that he feared for his life because government authorities were running after him and were to put him in jail was unfounded.
The high tribunal said Ku did not present any basis to substantiate his fears.
“This does not satisfy the burden required by the Rules on the Writ of Amparo, which places the burden on petitioner to substantiate his claims,” the court said.
The high court found Ku guilty of forum shopping by filing appeals in various government agencies, which included the Department of Justice, Office of the President and the Manila RTC, to stop his deportation.
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