Sta. Isabel strangled South Korean kidnap victim, fellow cop says

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 19 2017 10:28 PM

Senior Police Office 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, one of the suspects in the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo. ABS-CBN News file image

DOJ finds cause to charge 2 cops, 5 others for Korean's murder

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has found probable cause to indict two policemen, one other individual, and four "John Does" for the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

The DOJ found cause to indict the following for kidnapping for ransom with homicide:

- SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel

- SPO4 Roy Villegas

- Ramon Yalung

- alias "Pulis"

- alias "Jerry"

- alias "Sir Dumlao"

- alias "Ding"

The resolution was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, and approved by officer-in-charge Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Lilian Dorris Alejo and Prosecutor General Victor Sepulveda.

The DOJ based its findings on the testimony of Villegas and PO2 Christopher Baldovino, who were both part of the group that took Jee from his residence in October last year, as well as the statements of Marisa Morquicho, Jee's house helper who was also allegedly forcibly taken.

Villegas and Baldovino’s statements detailed their knowledge of the incident involving the victim and pointed to Sta. Isabel and his co-conspirators as the abductors who killed the victim.

Morquicho and Villegas’ accounts of how the respondents abducted and killed Jee “is sufficient enough to establish that the victim was kidnapped and his liberty was restrained against his will," the DOJ resolution read.

Villegas' testimony identified Sta. Isabel as the one who strangled, and eventually killed Jee. It was also allegedly Sta. Isabel who directed that Jee's remains be brought to a funeral parlor.

The DOJ said the respondents' demand for an P8-million ransom, and the actual delivery of P5 million as partial payment by Jee's wife, Choi Kyung Jin, proved that his abduction was "for purposes of extorting money from his family."

Villegas and Baldovino claimed they thought the operation at Ji's residence in Angeles City, Pampanga was legitimate after they were made to believe that Jee was involved in illegal drugs. They both confirmed that surveillance on Jee was conducted on October 4.

In the meantime, the DOJ recommended that a preliminary investigation be done on the 7 respondents in connection with the illegal detention of Morquicho.