A local court granted Monday a motion to re-investigate the abduction and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, while moving the arraignment date of three accused to April.
Judge Ireneo Pangilinan of the regional trial court in Angeles City, Pampanga also granted SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel's motion of transfer of custody to the National Bureau of Investigation.
Two other accused, Ramon Yalung and SPO4 Roy Villegas, will remain in Angeles City Jail and the Philippine National Police Custodial Center, respectively.
Sta. Isabel's lawyer, Atty. Alejandro Jose Pallugna, earlier told radio DZMM the motion for re-investigation stems from the failure of an initial investigation by the PNP on ranking officials allegedly involved in the crime.
Sta. Isabel, along with several others, are accused of kidnapping Jee in his home in the city on October 18 last year under the guise of a legitimate anti-drug operation.
The captors reportedly asked for millions from Jee's wife in exchange for his life, but it was later found out that the Korean businessman was killed the day that he was abducted.
A member of the group who took Jee accused Sta. Isabel of strangling the Korean inside Camp Crame and bringing his remains to a funeral parlor owned by a former police officer.
A Senate investigation on Jee's kidnap-slay was opened last week, but is currently suspended after the PNP placed its anti-narcotics crackdown on hold.
- with reports from Pauline Manalo, ABS-CBN News