DOJ not keen on witness protection for 'tokhang for ransom' cop

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2017 02:56 PM

MANILA - The Department of Justice (DOJ) is not considering, at this point, to place controversial cop SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel in its Witness Protection Program (WPP) after he implicated ranking police officials in the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

"No. We have no plan as of this time to put him under WPP. Case investigation is still ongoing," Aguirre said in a text message.

The justice chief stressed that mulling on placing Sta. Isabel under witness protection is still premature.

"We have to determine who is most guilty," he said.

Under the WPP Law, witnesses who may be admitted to the program are those who are not most guilty of the offense charged.

Jee was forcibly taken from his residence in Angeles City, Pampanga on October 18, 2016 by a reported group of policemen led by Sta. Isabel. His wife, Choi Kyung Jin, claimed that Ji's abductors initially demanded P5-million ransom, which she paid, but did not release him and subsequently asked for another P4.5-million.

According to information obtained by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), who has protective custody over Sta. Isabel following his surrender to the agency, Jee was killed on the same day he was abducted and his remains cremated in a crematorium.

His abductors, however, made his wife believe that he was still alive for months as they extorted money from her.

The supposed "operation" in Jee's residence was on the guise of government's campaign against illegal drugs.