CA denies plea of cop to stop colleague from testifying in Jee Ick-joo slay
The Court of Appeals has refused to stop government witness Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas from testifying on the circumstances behind the death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside the general headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2016.
In a four-page resolution, the appeals court 13th division denied the request of accused Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel for a restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction against Villegas’ testimony.
Villegas is one of the police officers who took part in the abduction of Jee believing that it was a legitimate anti-drug operation.
In his affidavit, he identified Sta. Isabel as the one who strangled Jee to death after talking to a “sir Dumlao” who later turned out to be Superintendent Rafael Dumlao III, a former official of the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), one of the accused to Jee’s death.
Villegas said when he realized it was not a legitimate police operation, he still did not resist and continued to obey instructions for fear of his life and safety of his family.
Sta. Isabel opposed the testimony of Villegas when he filed a motion for reconsideration to the resolution of the Angeles City court in Pampanga last January. However, his motion for reconsideration was dismissed in a resolution dated March 15, 2018, prompting him to take the case to the Court of Appeals.
“Accused Villegas does not qualify as a state witness and that unless the public respondent is enjoined from continuing the hearings, the rights of petitioner would be violated,” Sta. Isabel’s petition before the appeals court stated.
The appeals court, however, said that Sta. Isabel failed to establish any “grave and irreparable injury” if Villegas will continue testifying before the Pampanga court.
“Mere allegation of the possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing right is not a ground for the issuance thereof [of a restraining order or a writ of preliminary investigation],” the appeals court said.
Villegas already appeared and testified before the Pampanga Court. His testimony will continue on the trial set on July 12 and 30.
To delve into the merits, the appeals court ordered the government to comment within 10 days from notice on Sta. Isabel’s petition.
The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Myra Garcia-Fernandez and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon R. Garcia and Germano Francisco D. Legaspi. /jpv
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