Pampanga court grants bail to police officer as mentor in Jee Ick Joo kidnap-killer



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Supt. Rafael Dumlao File photo

MANILA – Citing weak evidence, a Pampanga court granted bail to the top suspect in the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in October 2016.

Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Dumlao III was authorized to file a $ 300,000 bail for each of the three lawsuits filed against him for allegedly being the Jee kidnapping in Angeles City and murdered at the national police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City almost three years ago. .

In the same decision, the court denied bail requests from his co-accused M / Sgt. Ricky Sta. Isabel police and former National Bureau of Investigation agent Jerry Omlang.

The three are being charged with a ransom with homicide for Jee's kidnapping, abduction and illegal detention for the kidnapping of Jee's helper, and for using Jee's sport utility vehicle when they kidnapped him.

The disappearance of Jee caught the public's attention when his wife Choi Kyung Jin appeared in the media in January 2017 to seek help to find her missing husband.

The South Korean businessman was abducted from his home in Angeles City on October 18, 2016 under the guise of an anti-drug operation. The case was later unveiled, with investigations by the police and the Senate showing that he was killed the same day, allegedly by police, at the National Police Headquarters.

The case prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to apologize to South Korea over the incident and the Philippine National Police to review his anti-drug campaign.

In granting bail from Dumlao, Angeles City District Court Judge Irina Zenaida Buan, 56, said that during the bail hearing, the prosecution "failed to prove that the evidence of guilt of the defendant P / Supt. Rafael Dumlao III is strong.

"Sitting through the testimony of prosecution witnesses, the Court holds that none of them proved a particular act or acts of the accused Dumlao who clearly established their complicity in the abduction and murder of the victim Ick Joo Jee," the order said.

In denying bail of Dumlao and Omlang, the court said the prosecution "established the direct acts" which it allegedly committed, "which points to a unity of purpose and design of criminals, evidencing conspiracy among those accused of committing the crimes committed. "

"The testimonies mentioned clearly show that the crimes were indeed committed and that they accused St. Elizabeth and Omlang of participating directly in the commission," the court said.

Also facing a criminal charge for kidnapping for homicide rescue is Gerardo Santiago, owner of a funeral home in Caloocan City, where Jee's body was brought.

The investigation revealed that his body was cremated and his ashes were thrown into the toilet.

A fifth defendant, SPO4 Roy Villegas, became state witness in January 2018.

Clutching the blame in Dumlao, St. Elizabeth previously denied the allegations, despite being identified by Marissa Morichic, Jee's helper. She was kidnapped along with the businessman, but released when they arrived in the city of Quezon.

On Monday, prosecutors asked the court in Angeles to issue a warrant against Dumlao to stop him from leaving the country.

Despite ruling in favor of Dumlao, the court noted that this would not necessarily determine the outcome of the case.

"…[T]its conclusion is without prejudice to the Court's subsequent determination of the guilt (beyond reasonable doubt) of all accused on the basis of the subsequent / additional evidence / testimony of both the prosecution and the defense that the Court will receive during the trial on the prosecution. merits of the cases, "the court said.

"It was considered that it is not an unusual occurrence that an accused person granted bail is convicted in due course," he added.

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