One year after, grieving wife of Jee Ick Joo still cries for justice

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2017 03:16 PM

Choi Kyung Jin, wife of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, laments the death of her husband. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- It has been a year since her husband Jee Ick Joo was killed, but Choi Kyung Jin's cry for justice remained loud as ever. 

Dressed in black and with clasped hands, Choi cried how much she misses Jee, who was abducted from their home in Angeles City, Pampanga last October 18.

In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN News, Choi, aided by a translator, said the pain of losing her husband lingered, more so as justice is still elusive. 

Jee, a South Korean businessman, was killed allegedly by rogue cops inside Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police's (PNP) headquarters.

His death has shaken the police force, which at the time, was the lead institution of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Choi Kyung Jin, wife of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, laments the death of her husband. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

Choi said trauma remains, especially when she sees Camp Crame, the national police headquarters where her husband's life was cut short. 

"It's been one year but she never forgets anything," her translator said. 

On Wednesday, exactly a year since her husband went missing, Choi will mark the Jee's passing with a private memorial service.

Choi said she received the blessing of PNP Chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa to have the memorial service in a parking area inside Camp Crame, where her husband allegedly died.

'NOT ENOUGH'

With Jee's case yet to be resolved, Choi said she believes that President Duterte "tried" to deliver justice swiftly but noted that it was still "not enough."

The grieving wife also noted that President Duterte's recent decision to transfer the authority to conduct drug operations to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency alone, may possibly have been affected by what happened to Jee.

Choi said she hopes Dela Rosa, as the police chief, would use his power to prevent a "recurrence" of Jee's case.

While Philippines will always remind Choi of Jee's painful death, she said she chose to stay here to see that justice is finally served, through a fair trial. 

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE CASE?

It could be recalled that Jee was abducted from his house by policemen allegedly led by SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drug Group.

But this incident was not reported until three months later, even after Choi had already given P5 million ransom to the kidnappers on October 31, 2016. It was later found out that Jee was long dead. 

Shortly after the Jee Ick Joo case made headlines, police vowed to prosecute colleagues involved. It later on prompted a Senate investigation and President Duterte's decision to temporarily relieve the police from the conduct of anti-drug operations.

Jee's death also strained some ties between Manila and Seoul, prompting Duterte to issue an apology to South Korea.

"[I] want [Jee's] case to be a way of peace between the Philippines and [South] Korea," Choi said.

Still, Choi feels she has reached a dead end, and can only hope for heaven's wrath against criminals who killed her husband.

"God knows everything," said Choi.