Filtered By: News

Bato: South Korean businessman was killed inside Camp Crame

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Thursday said South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo was killed inside Camp Crame. 

Dela Rosa said he was livid and ashamed that the killing was done at the national police headquarters.

"Very angry. Very offended. Kung pwede lang matunaw ako ngayon sa kinalalagyan ko sa hiya. It happened sa loob ng Camp Crame. Kinuha nila doon sa Caloocan, dinala doon sa loob ng Camp Crame, at doon pinatay. Kung pwede lang matunaw ako ngayon sa hiya. Hiyang-hiya ako," he said in a briefing in Malacañang.

He said that as per the testimony of one of the witnesses, it was SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who strangled Jee to death.

"If I have my way, papatayin ko kayong mga police kayo. But I cannot do it," he added. 

The PNP chief said President Rodrigo Duterte has been briefed about Jee's case, but refused to divulge further details.

"Amin na lang iyon. Galit siya. Galit si Presidente," he said.

Dela Rosa said he was against any move to make Sta. Isabel, who is now under National Bureau of Investigation custody, a state witness.

"Paano nilang gawing state witness ang pinaka-most guilty? Paano nila gagawin iyon? I will protest if gagawin nilang state witness ang gagong iyon," he said.

A few minutes after, he received a message from Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II that there are no plans to make Sta. Isabel a state witness.

Not new

Dela Rosa apologized to South Korea for the incident.

"I'm very sorry na nangyari itong krimen na ito at mga tao ko pa iyong involved. Kung sa kanila sa Korea, iyong kanilang customs at traditions na mag-harakiri sila sa sobra hiya, ako hindi ko kaya kasi masakit kung gawin ko. Gusto ko lang matunaw. Gusto ko lang mag-disappear dito sa mundo dahil sa hiya dahil sa ginagawa ng tao ko," he said, referring to the Japanese ritual suicide by cutting the abdomen using a sword.

"I will give them the proper explanation in due time," he added.

Dela Rosa also cited reports that the ashes from the South Korean's cremated remains were flushed down the toilet.

He also revealed that this kidnap-for-ransom style was not new. 

"Apparently, matagal na nitong ginagawa, iyong style na ito, na kini-cremate ang kidnap victim kaya pala pagkatanggap ng ransom, wala pa ring bumabalik na kidnap victim na nawawala dahil wala na palang body of the crime dahil ashes na eh. Ashes na iyong tao. Ipa-DNA mo pa iyong ashes. Mabuti kong ma-recover mo iyong ashes. Sabi noong — nag-panic daw iyon. I don’t know how true is that, nag-panic daw iyong isang empleyado ng punerarya, flinush niya daw sa toilet bowl iyong ashes noong Koryano noong pinuntahan," Dela Rosa said.

Villegas testimony

Dela Rosa's statement was backed the testimony by SPO4 Roy Villegas, one of the seven individuals set to be charged in court by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the abduction and killing of Jee.

According to the DOJ resolution, Jee was brought to Camp Crame after he was abducted from his home.

Villegas said he noticed SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel was talking with a certain Sir Dumlao and overheard their conversation.  Villegas added Sta. Isabel brought a packaging tape and surgical gloves and instructed them to cover Jee's head.

"When he (Villegas) asked the respondent (Sta. Isabel) for what reason, the latter instructed them to obey his order and not that of Dumlao. He finally recalls seeing respondent Sta. Isabel strangling and killing the victim," the DOJ said.

Villegas claimed after Jee was killed, he called up Gerardo Gregorio "Ding" Santiago, the owner of Gream Funeral Services in Brgy. Bagbaguin, Caloocan City. Santiago agreed to receive Jee's body in exchange for P30,000 and a golf set, which was recovered by the police during a search operation on Wednesday.

"They brought the body of the victim to a funeral parlor. They also disposed the cellular phones of the victim and the female person upon the instruction of respondent Sta. Isabel," the resolution read.

The police officer said he thought all along that the surveillance and police operations which he participated in are legitimate police operations.

"When Villegas realized it, he did not resist, and instead he obeyed the instruction of Sta. Isabel for fear of his life and that of his family," the resolution stated.

October kidnapping

Jee was abducted together with his househelp from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga by armed men last October 18.

His wife Choi Kyung Jin said eight armed men, including SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who is connected to the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, took their personal property, jewelry, and her passport as well as her daughter's.

The househelp was subsequently freed but Jee, despite the P5 million ransom paid by Choi, was not released. 

Choi then asked for assistance from the police and put up a P100,000 reward for any information regarding the whereabouts of her husband. 

On Tuesday, the NBI announced Jee was dead after getting a tip from an informant that led government agents to the funeral home. 

No body was found during the search but the South Korean foreign ministry, citing a supposed Philippine government report, learned that the businessman was strangled to death and burned to ashes in a crematorium. 

A source said Jee was killed inside a black Ford Explorer that was parked inside the Police Community Relations Group compound.

“Binalot ng tape ang mukha saka sinakal, sakay ng kanyang Explorer na itim,” the source said, adding that the incident happened around 10 p.m.

A police official, who refused to be named, said the closed-circuit television footage in the area is no longer available because these were already been overwritten by the system.

In a text message to GMA News Online, Supt. Dennis Wagas, legal officer of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group, said “based on existing evidence and DOJ resolution, yes (Jee was killed inside Camp Crame)."  — with Virgil Lopez, Amita Legaspi/JST, GMA News