Sta. Isabel pleads for return custody to NBI

MANILA – A police officer tagged as one of the suspects in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo files several urgent motions before the Angeles, Pampanga regional trial court, including the shelving of his arraignment and the transfer of his custody from Philippine National Police (PNP) to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, through his public attorneys, filed a 12-page urgent motions for reinvestigation; to defer the arraignment and to return the custody of the NBI from the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame before Angeles, Pampanga regional trial court Branch 58, to order the Department of Justice (DoJ) on charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide against him.

Sta. Isabel alleged that he was deprived of his constitutional right to due process after the DOJ filed the non-bailable case before the court without according him his right to disprove the allegations during preliminary investigation.

He lamented that the DOJ hurriedly issued a resolution on the charges last Jan. 17 and subsequently filed the case in court when he was notified that the hearing for his submission of answer was set on Feb. 6 and 13.

”Accused SPO3 Sta. Isabel, in the interest of justice and fair play, prays and begs for the kind indulgence of this Honorable Court to order the reinvestigation of the instant case against him. The Information was hastily filed without giving him the chance to file his counter affidavit together with the documents to refute the baseless complaint filed against him,” the motion stated.

“The Information was hastily filed without giving him the chance to file his counter affidavit together with the documents to refute the baseless complaint filed against him,” it added.

In motion to defer the arraignment, Sta. Isabel is requesting to avail of his right to a preliminary investigation, considering further the possibility that the charge against him can either be modified or dismissed, to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.

”The right of a person to preliminary investigation is recognized by the law and is governed by the Rules of Court. Although, the failure to accord this right does not ipso facto result in the dismissal of the information; the case is suspended, and the prosecutor is directed to conduct the proper investigation ,” the motion stated.

In seeking to return to the custody of NBI from PNP, Sta. Isabel is member of PNP argued that he does not feel safe inside Camp Crame after he implicated several senior officials in the case, including his superiors PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group – Pampanga (AIDG) head Superintendent Rafael Dumlao and Senior Supt. Allan Macapagal of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group.

”Since accused herein is a member of the Philippine National Police, detained at the institution’s detention facility, he fears for his life’s security as the same is in imminent danger as he continuously receives death threats. Accused will be safer in the custody of the NBI than with the PNP considering that this case not only involves him but also several high ranking and powerful officials who are still connected with the PNP Organization,” the motion stated.

He said even his private lawyers were earlier forced to withdraw their representation “due to threats to their life, security and safety.”

Last Jan. 16, Sta. Isabel surrendered with the NBI to ask for protective custody after being tagged as one of the suspects in the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman.

The warrant for the arrest was served on Jan. 20 by the member of the PNP-AKG at the NBI. After the service of the warrant, SPO3 Sta. Isabel’s custody was transferred and presently detained at PNP Headquarters at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Jee’s wife, Choi Kyunghin, 53, said his husband was forcibly taken by eight armed men on Oct. 18 from his residence and had not been located until now.

His family paid Php 5 million ransom money on Oct. 30 but he was never released.

The abductors asked for an additional Php 4 million but failed to produce proof that the victim was still alive, prompting Choi to seek police’s assistance.

Last Jan. 17, the NBI, together with the Caloocan police went to the funeral parlor after receiving information that Jee’s body was taken there on the same day he was abducted on Oct. 18, 2016. No body was recovered as Jee’s body had been cremated last year.

Earlier, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has cited the possibility that higher PNP officials were involved in the kidnap-slay case after Sta. Isabel and wife Jinky submitted pieces of evidence pointing to involvement of his superiors.

On Tuesday, Aguirre ordered the issuance of an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against two active police officers and five others in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Jee.

In an ‘extremely urgent’ memorandum, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime H. Morente, NBI Director Dante A. Gierran, Prosecutor General Victor C. Sepulveda to place several PNP personnel in the lookout bulletin.

The individuals named in the list were SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, SPO4 Roy Villegas, PO2 Christopher Baldovino, Ramon Yalung and four people identified only under the aliases “Pulis”, “Jerry”, “Sir Dumlao”, “Ding” and other John Does in relation to the disappearance of businessman Jee Ick Joo.

“This ILBO will ensure that the personnel named therein will not be beyond the reach of our investigating bodies. It will also ensure that these persons are given the chance to present their side of the story when called upon,” Aguirre said. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com