MANILA - The owner of the funeral parlor where the body of slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was taken is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Gerardo Santiago, owner of the Gream Funeral Homes and chairman of Barangay 165 in Caloocan, voluntarily sought protective custody, said NBI deputy director Ferdinand Lavin.
"He fears for his safety. He fears for his life. He fears for the safety of his family," explained Lavin.
Santiago has committed his full cooperation to the investigation into Jee's killing, according the NBI official.
"Full cooperation and he will tell all. Sasabihin niya lahat. Sabi niya, he will tell the truth, kung ano talagang nangyari," Lavin said.
(He promised his full cooperation and to tell all he knows. He said he will tell the truth about what really happened.)
The NBI will take Lavin's statement "as soon as he has gathered some rest," Lavin said.
Earlier this month, Santiago took a leave of absence from work and flew to Canada.
He and his wife returned to the country on Thursday morning. They were fetched by NBI agents at the airport.
Santiago is a retired officer of the Northern Police District, where he had worked with SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, primary suspect in Jee's killing.
Sta. Isabel and several cops allegedly abducted Jee from his home in Angeles, Pampanga on October 18, on the basis of trumped-up drug charges.
The kidnappers allegedly brought Jee to Camp Crame and strangled him to death inside a car before asking his widow for millions of pesos in ransom.
Santiago reportedly agreed to process Jee's remains before it was cremated at another establishment in exchange for P30,000 and the Korean's golf set. -- With a report from Dennis Datu, DZMM