Prosecution asks judge to inhibit from Jee Ick Joo case
MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers from the prosecution panel have asked the judge presiding over the cases filed against cops allegedly involved in the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo to inhibit from the case.
In an Omnibus motion filed on Thursday, Presiding Judge Irin Zenaida Buan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 56 in Angeles City was asked to inhibit because she allegedly failed to discharge her function when she allowed Police Colonel Rafael Dumlao, the alleged brains of the kidnap-slay incident, to post bail.
“The Order dated April 24, 2019, insofar as accused Dumlao bail is concerned is not only unfair to the people, it is also selective and smacks of discriminatory treatment to other accused, who
are similarly situated as co-conspirators,” state lawyers claimed
Dumlao was allowed to post bail on April 24 after prosecution failed to prove that the evidence of guilt against the police officer was strong. The court also reasoned that Dumlao’s actions, as relayed by witnesses’ testimonies, cannot be considered an act of conspiring to kill the victim.
However, Police Chief Master Sergeant Ricky Sta. Isabel and civilian Jerry Omlang, Dumlao’s co-accused incident, were not given the same privilege.
The motion was signed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Juan Pedro Navera and Olivia Laroza-Torrevillas, and Assistant State Prosecutor Ethel Rea Suril.
The prosecution asked Buan to defer from deciding on their motion for partial reconsideration filed on the same day. This motion seeks the reversal of the Order regarding Dumlao’s bail, which can possibly put him back in detention.
“It is evident from her ruling on the petition for bail of accused Dumlao that she did not even bother to consider the declarations of state witness (Police Executive Master Seargent Roy) Villegas that accused Dumlao harassed and threatened him not to implead Dumlao and not to identify him as one of the perpetrators,” the prosecution said.
Jee Ick Joo was reportedly a victim of the “tokhang for ransom scheme” where rogue officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrest individuals for drug-related cases and later extort money from them in exchange for freedom.
Jee was abducted from his home in Angeles last October 18, 2016 at the height of Oplan Tokhang, the administration’s nationwide program against illegal drugs. He is believed to be dead, although his remains was not found.
According to Villegas who testified against Sta. Isabel, Jee’s body was cremated in Caloocan City, and the ashes were flushed down a toilet. A Department of Justice inquiry found that Jee was strangled inside Camp Crame, PNP’s headquarters, hours after he was kidnapped. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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