Funeral owner involved in kidnap-slay of S. Korean businessman now under NBI custody, says Aguirre

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday confirmed the owner of the funeral parlor in Caloocan City where the body of kidnap-slay victim, South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, was brought is now under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

In a text message sent to PNA, Aguirre said Gerardo Santiago is expected to give his statement to the NBI.

Santiago, a retired police officer who owns the Gream Funeral Services in Barangay (village) Bagbaguin in Caloocan City where the Korean’s body was said to have been cremated, had escaped to Canada when the case became public.

Aguirre also confirmed the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) already filed a supplemental complaint before the DOJ against PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group – Pampanga (AIDG) head Superintendent Rafael Dumlao and Santiago who were formally tagged as suspects in the kidnap-slay of Jee Ick Joo.

The two alleged cohorts of prime suspect SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel will be facing charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide.

Sta. Isabel implicated several senior officials in the case, including his superiors Dumlao and Senior Supt. Allan Macapagal of the PNP-AKG.

Earlier, Aguirre 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.

PNP Chief Director Geenral Ronald Dela Rosa also confirmed Dumlao’s participation in the crime based on the evidence gathered by the AKG.

Dumlao was with Sta. Isabel on several occasions on the day the Korean was killed inside Camp Crame.

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

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, 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.

His family paid PHP5 million ransom money on Oct. 30 but he was never released.

The abductors asked for an additional PHP4 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. C Lloyd Caliwan/PNA-northboundasia.com