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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Suspect in Korean’s killing wants to be state witness

By: Gil C. Cabacungan - Reporter / @gcabacunganINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 02:55 AM January 21, 2017
ricky sta. isabel
PRIMARY SUSPECT SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel escorted out of the NBI for transfer to Camp Crame –ALEXIS CORPUZ

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said on Friday that the police officer named as the key suspect in the abduction and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo has applied to turn state witness, saying he feared for his life under the custody of the Philippine National Police.

Aguirre said no decision had yet been made on the petition of SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, who had been staying at the National Bureau of Investigation until he was transferred to PNP headquarters on Friday. He is accused of leading a team of rogue officers who kidnapped Jee and then strangled him  in October last year, and later extorted ransom from his wife.

He said Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta had moved to file a motion in court to appeal for Sta. Isabel’s return to the  NBI.

“The wife made a formal request for PAO lawyers. He (Sta. Isabel)  has no lawyer because his private lawyer withdrew due to death threats,” Aguirre said. He said the PAO lawyers would just review what Sta. Isabel had initially provided to his previous lawyer.

“It’s obvious that he wants to stay with the NBI. He fears somebody else and it’s not the NBI,” Aguirre said.

Since Sta. Isabel and the other suspects  did not submit affidavits, their only option was to seek a reinvestigation to submit their statements before the Department of Justice (DOJ) handed down its resolution.

Acosta said the PAO would file a motion seeking Sta. Isabel’s return to NBI custody for “security reasons.” But it was too early to declare whether Sta. Isabel would be made a state witness because the DOJ-NBI was still investigating the case and Sta. Isabel’s culpability in Jee’s kidnapping and murder.


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