WHAT WENT BEFORE: Jee Ick-joo slaying
On Jan. 8, 2017, the Inquirer published an exclusive report about the “Tokhang for ransom” racket of rogue policemen, after the disappearance of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in Pampanga province.
On Oct. 18, 2016, Jee, a 53-year-old former director of a South Korean company in the Philippines, was seized at his home in Angeles City by a police team led by a narc officer.
Days after the Inquirer report, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced its findings that Jee was strangled in his own vehicle inside Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine National Police, hours after he was kidnapped.
The DOJ resolution quoted one of the officers accused, SPO4 Roy Villegas, as saying a policeman, SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, was the leader of the group.
Villegas said that after the killing, Sta. Isabel called a certain “Ding,” who agreed to dispose of the body in exchange for P30,000 and a golf set.
The body was taken to a funeral parlor in Caloocan City where it was cremated and the ashes flushed down a toilet.
Although Jee was already dead, the kidnappers demanded P5 million in ransom from the Korean’s wife.
Sta. Isabel, who resigned after being accused and surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation, allegedly led officers in taking Jee from his home in the guise of a drug raid.
President Duterte halted his war on drugs after learning it had been used as cover for crime.
In February 2017, then PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said a “Korean mafia” preying on rich Koreans in the Philippines might also have been involved in Jee’s murder.
Two weeks later, the chief of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group, Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao, said investigation showed that a Filipino crime syndicate, and not the Korean mafia, killed Jee because he defied its attempts at extortion, encouraging other Korean and Chinese businessmen in the country to do the same.
Kidnapping for ransom and homicide charges for the abduction and killing of Jee have been brought against Sta. Isabel; Villegas; Supt. Rafael Dumlao III, former chief of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group; and Jerry Omlang, an errand boy at the NBI who surrendered and confessed to participation in the crime. Gerardo Santiago, owner of the funeral parlor, has been charged as an accessory to the crime.
In January 2018, the Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 58 approved the petition of the DOJ to drop Villegas from the case and take him in as a prosecution witness. Dumlao and Sta. Isabel filed separate motions for reconsideration.
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