Suspect in Korean kidnap-slay a no-show in scheduled arraignment

ANGELES CITY, Philippines – One of the policemen suspected in the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo failed to appear at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 here on Wednesday, April 19, for his supposed arraignment.

Lawyer Myrna Janina Banaga, legal counsel of SPO4 Roy Villegas, said the Philippine National Police Custodial Center had notified Villegas’ parents that it could not escort him to the court here because it did not receive any subpoena.

The parents of Villegas were present in the court. His mother even stood up from her seat and came forward to explain to Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr the circumstances behind her son’s absence in the court.

Only two of the 7 suspects listed in the original Department of Justice (DOJ) resolution on Jee’s case were able to attend the scheduled arraignment.

SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel was escorted by agents of the National Bureau of Investigation, some of them wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying assault rifles.

Ramon Yalung, who was excluded from the list of suspects in the amended DOJ resolution, arrived in yellow inmate uniform escorted by Bureau of Jail Management and Penology personnel.

Judge Pangilinan decided to reset the arraignment of the suspects to May 31, 2017 after receiving the DOJ’s motion on its amended resolution. He also ordered the issuance of a subpoena to Villegas to compel him to attend next month’s arraignment.

The RTC judge directed the warden of the Angeles City District Jail to release Yalung after hearing both legal counsels of Sta. Isabel and Villegas that they had no objection to Yalung’s exclusion from the case.

Two other cases were separately filed at the RTC here – kidnapping with illegal detention and carnapping – against Sta Isabel, Villegas, Superintendent Rafael Dumlao III and Jerry Omlang.

Jee’s widow, Choi Kyung-jin, and several other Koreans, including Korean Embassy Consul Kim Dae Hee, attended the supposed arraignment at the RTC Branch 58 here on Wednesday.

Kim told reporters that he was there “only to observe the court proceedings.”

Jee was kidnapped from Friendship Plaza Subdivision in this city on October 18, 2016. (READ: Jee Ick Joo case: Tangled webs, inconsistent stories)

His wife reportedly paid P5 million to the abductors, without knowing that her husband was already killed inside PNP Camp Crame headquarters and cremated by his captors. – Rappler.com