MANILA - (UPDATED) A village chairman tagged in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo has left the country for Canada, the Department of Justice confirmed Thursday.
Barangay 165, Caloocan chairman Gerardo Santiago, who owns the funeral parlor where Jee’s remains were found, flew to Vancouver on January 11 on board Philippine Airlines flight PR-118, Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes said, citing Immigration records.
Santiago left the country on the same day that Jee's wife sought help from Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa.
Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan said Santiago filed a leave of absence from January 10 to February 10.
According to the mayor, Santiago retired in 2007 from the Northern Police District, where he had worked with SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel.
Sta. Isabel and several other policemen have been accused of using President Duterte's war on drugs as a cover for the kidnapping of Jee from his home in Angeles, Pampanga last October 18.
A Seoul-based news agency, citing police sources, said the victim appeared to have been strangled to death on the same day of his abduction.
Agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) found Jee's ashes at the Gream Funeral Homes owned by Santiago.
The NBI is now investigating Santiago as a person of interest in the abduction and kidnapping of the Korean.
Santiago will be charged with dereliction of duty if he does not return to their barangay when his leave of absence ends, said Malapitan. -- With a report from Johnson Manabat, DZMM
DZMM, crime, tokhang for ransom, kidnap extortion, crime, Jee Ick-joo, Oscar Malapitan, Gerardo Santiago, Ricky Sta. Isabel