MANILA - A policeman accused of kidnapping a South Korean businessman has surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation days after he was linked to the crime, the Philippine National Police confirmed Monday.
PNP chief Director General "Bato" dela Rosa said SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, who has been tagged in the October kidnapping of Jee Ick Joo, sought voluntary protective custody at the NBI early Monday.
Sta. Isabel's move, however, did not sit well with a fuming Dela Rosa who insisted that the embattled cop should have surrendered to the PNP.
"T*** i**, ka maro talaga nung tao na 'yun, ano. PNP s'ya, ayaw magpa-custody sa amin. Doon sa kanila, dahil alam niya hindi NBI nag-imbestiga sa kaso niya. Alam n'ya na wala na syang kawala dito sa PNP talaga," Dela Rosa said in a press briefing.
Dela Rosa said the PNP has built an airtight case against Sta. Isabel.
"Kung nakikinig siya ngayon, kung nagmo-monitor sa TV at radyo, wala ka nang kawala," he warned. "I hope lalabas na yung warrant para mahuli na yan, transferred."
He claimed Sta. Isabel has a "protector" but declined to give additional information pending investigation.
Sta. Isabel and several others allegedly used a police anti-drug operation to abduct Jee, a former director at a South Korean heavy industries firm, from his home in Angeles last October. The kidnappers demanded million of pesos for the foreigner's release, authorities said.
Police said earlier this week an officer with an anti-drug task force was suspected of involvement, that he had been placed under "restrictive custody" and that criminal charges would be filed against him.
On Thursday, the PNP chief revealed the accused officer had not been detained as part of his "restrictive custody". He said the policeman was meant to just report to his officers, but that he had stopped doing so and gone missing.
Hours after Dela Rosa's interview, the accused officer, SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, surfaced and said he had not been in hiding but had been reporting to the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management in Camp Crame.
Sta. Isabel, who is assigned with the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, said he had nothing to do with the abduction and even claimed there are hospital records that would show he was in a hospital on the day of Jee's kidnapping.
The officer then cast blame on the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group for linking him to the crime and said he is resigning after 20 years as a police officer.
SUSPECT FLED TO CANADA?
Dela Rosa said that out of Sta. Isabel's 8 cohorts, 1 was identified as a retired policeman who is also a high-value drug target.
Two others were "less guilty" policemen who may have been not been aware of the alleged kidnap-extortion scheme. They are already in the custody of PNP-AIDG and may be designated as witnesses.
Another alleged cohort of Sta. Isabel has already fled to Canada while another Korean national was tagged as a "person of interest", Dela Rosa said. -- With a report Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News