DOJ panel clears NBI officials tagged in Crame murder
MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) has formally charged before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Angeles City Supt. Rafael Dumlao and two others for the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo last year.
Aside from Dumlao, the DOJ also found probable cause to indict Jerry Omlang, the alleged “striker” or errand boy at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), as well as Gerardo Gregorio Santiago, owner of the Caloocan City funeral parlor where Jee's body was initially brought then cremated.
Santiago was charged as an accessory to the crime.
The three were included in the amended information filed before the Angeles City RTC following a DOJ reinvestigation ordered by Branch 58 Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr.
Omlang and Santiago had earlier surrendered to the NBI and tagged Dumlao, former official at the dissolved police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, as the mastermind in the kidnapping of Jee, a Korean businessman taken from his house Angeles City in the guise of an anti-drug raid on Oct. 18, 2016.
He was killed at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Camp Crame hours later. Still, his wife Choi Kyung-Jin paid a P5-million ransom to Jee's captors more than a week later, unaware that her husband was already dead.
His slay prompted President Duterte to apologize to South Korea and forced a brief pause in the administration's fierce anti-drug drive to give way to internal cleansing at the PNP.
In resolving to indict Dumlao, the DOJ said the police official's denials "have no evidentiary weight and do not deserve our scant consideration."
"As one of the planners of the kidnapping, Dumlao was, at the very least, a principal by inducement who was a conspirator with Sta. Isabel and the others," the DOJ said in the 47-page resolution.
The DOJ originally filed kidnapping and homicide charges against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas and several individuals identified only by their aliases for Jee's slay.
The reinvestigation panel, led by Senior Associate State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, “affirmed the charge” against Sta. Isabel and Villegas in the amended information.
Dumlao, Sta. Isabel, Omlang and Villegas were also charged with carnapping for taking Jee's Ford Explorer at the time of his abduction.
At the same time, a separate information for kidnapping and serious illegal detention were also filed against Dumlao, Sta. Isabel, Villegas, Omlang and several individuals identified only as “John Does’ for the abduction of Marisa Dawis Morquicho, Jee's maid.
Morquicho was abducted along with Jee but was released after they were brought to Camp Crame.
The DOJ said Dumlao, Sta. Isabel, Villegas and Omlang “conspired,
confederated and helped one another, together with several John Does who are still at large,” to carry out the crime.
In the same resolution, however, the DOJ ordered the dismissal of charges against 11 others, including several officials of the NBI, for lack of probable cause.
Among those cleared for kidnapping, homicide, robbery, carnapping, falsification of public documents and obstruction of justice were Ramon Yalung, former NBI Deputy Director for Investigation Services Jose Yap, former NBI-NCR director Ricardo Diaz, former NBI Task Force Against Illegal Drugs Roel Bolivar, Supt. Allan Macapagal, Christopher Alan Gruenberg, Epephany Gotera, Teodelito Taripe, Kevin Enriquez, Robert John Tobias and Bernardo Maraya Jr.
"To us, the tangled web spun by Dumlao is incredible and a mere afterthought after he was already pinpointed by Sta. Isabel, Villegas and Omlang as one of the planners in the kidnapping," the resolution stressed.
It was Dumlao who had tagged the NBI officials in the slay.
The DOJ further cleared Santiago's employees at his Gream funeral services, saying they were only following orders.