DOJ begins reinvestigation into Jee kidnap-slay

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2017 05:29 PM

South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo

The Department of Justice (DOJ) began on Friday its reinvestigation into criminal charges against several policemen and civilians allegedly responsible for the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo last October 18.

Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Olivia Torrevillas gave the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) five days to submit all their evidence against respondents, and gave respondents up to February 16, the next hearing schedule, to file their respective counter-affidavits.

All respondents namely, SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel; SPO4 Roy Villegas; PO2 Christopher Baldovino; Ramon Yalung; retired policeman and Gream Funeral Parlor owner Gerardo Gregorio Santiago; Christopher Alan Gruenberg, owner of one of the vehicles used in the abduction; and Jerry Omlang, an NBI "runner/errand boy" were present in the hearing.

Dumlao was not present but his lawyer informed the prosecutors that he was "in the area" but did not attend the hearing "for safety reasons."

The prosecutors also asked the PNP-AKG, through their Supt. Dennis Wagas, to formally clarify the legal status of Marisa Dawis Morquicho, Jee's househelp who was abducted with him but later released unscathed, whether she is a respondent or a complaining witness, in the next hearing.

Morquicho manifested during the hearing that she will be filing a separate complaint for kidnapping against respondents.

The PNP-AKG and NBI submissions will be jointly undertaken in light of the joint investigating team recently formed between the two agencies for purposes of a thorough probe into Jee's case.

Jee's wife, Choi Kyung jin, was present in the hearing but did not make any manifestation.

A case for kidnapping for ransom with homicide was already filed before the Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 against Sta. Isabel and several of the respondents but Sta. Isabel's plea for a reinvestigation of the original complaint filed with the DOJ, kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention, was granted by the presiding judge.

Jee was abducted at his residence in Angeles City on the guise of a legitimate anti-drug operation. He was reportedly strangled to death by his abductors in Camp Crame on the same day he was abducted, and his remains cremated. 

Sta. Isabel, et al. allegedly demanded P5-million in ransom money from Jee's wife, which they were able to collect, even after his death. 

Navera and Torrevillas have 60 days or up to April 19 to resolve the case.