Angeles judge inhibits from Jee Ick Joo slay case
MANILA, Philippines — Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 56 Judge Irin Zenaida Buan recused herself from handling the case on the death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo who was killed inside the country’s main police headquarters.
This is the second time the prosecution panel prodded her to inhibit from the case. The first request was denied last May.
Aside from the prosecution, accused Police Chief Master Sergeant Ricky Sta. Isabel and Jerry Omlang filed separate motions asking that she inhibit from the case.
“To continue trying these cases (despite the previous denial of the first motion for inhibition) will already be counter-productive if not prejudicial to the Presiding Judge,” read the Court order.
“To insist on trying these cases despite a continuing call for recusal will already conjure an erroneous image of a judge holding on to a case under a continuous cloud of doubt,” she said.
The judge said inhibiting from the case is most prudent so as not to stall the proceedings.
Last May 23, the panel of prosecutors sought her inhibition, but Buan denied the motion last July 31. The team of prosecutors said Buan denied their motion almost two months after it was filed but they have yet to receive a copy of her order thus they opted to file a second motion.
The second motion was filed also upon orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
The panel said Buan’s subsequent actions and later orders indicate clear badges of partiality in favor of accused Police Col. Rafael Dumlao and the other accused in the case, such as when she persisted to set periods to file pleadings from both parties despite the opposition of the prosecution who contend that the proceedings be deferred pending the issuance of the order on the motion for inhibition.
The prosecution said that Buan granted Dumlao’s petition for bail despite the fact that Police Executive Master Sergeant Roy Villegas told the court Dumlao harassed and even threatened him not to implicate him and not to identify him as one of the perpetrators.
Dumlao is facing charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and carnapping.
Aside from Dumlao, Police Chief Master Sergeant (formerly SPO3) Ricky Sta. Isabel, and Gerry Omlang, the DOJ also charged Gerardo “Ding” Santiago, owner of the Gream Funeral Services in Caloocan City where the body of the victim was brought; and Villegas for kidnapping for ransom with homicide case.
Villegas was later discharged as State Witness while Santiago’s case was downgraded to being an accessory. /je
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