Transfer of Jee Ick Joo slay suspects to Angeles City sought

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Police officer Ricky Sta. Isabel (C), one of the suspects in the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, is escorted by fellow policemen as they leave the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) building in Manila on January 20, 2017. — AFP

By Dane Angelo M. Enerio

THE Department of Justice (DoJ) has asked Branch 56 of the Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) to transfer to the Angeles City jail in Pampanga the three accused in the case on slain South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, citing logistical and legal concerns.

In their eight-page motion dated June 7 and released to media on Wednesday, the DoJ panel of prosecutors headed by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juad Pedro C. Navera sought for the transfer of Philippine National Police (PNP) Superintendent Rafael Dumlao III, Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky M. Sta. Isabel, and Jerry Omlang as “the present custody arrangements of the accused at the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) Detention Facility and at the PNP Custodial Center (PNPCC) are burdensome, costly and inefficient for the government.”

They were charged with kidnapping for ransom with homicide and serious illegal detention as well as carjacking when they abducted Mr. Jee on Oct. 18, 2016, and killed him inside the PNP’s headquarters, Camp Crame, where the PNPCC is located.

Mr. Jee’s remains were reportedly cremated before being flushed in a toilet.

Finding merit in their safety concerns, the Pampanga court granted on May 3 last year Mr. Dumlao’s request to be detained at the PNP’s Custodial Center and Messrs. Sta. Isabel and Omlang’s request to be under the custody of the NBI.

According to the DoJ prosecutors, the accused are transported and secured from their respective detention centers to Angeles City by personnel of the agencies for every hearing.

The prosecutors pointed out: “[C]ustody, detention and security are not the main functions and mandate” of the PNP and NBI.

They added, “the PNPCC is just a temporary holding facility or lock-up cell for arrested persons,” and that “the (NBI) is not a jail.”

Instead, the prosecutors pointed out, “[t]he agency vested by law to administer and supervise jail facilities where arrested persons should be committed while waiting or undergoing trial is the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP),” as stated in Sections 61 and 63 of Republic Act (RA) No. 6975 or the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990.

“The accused’s continued detention at the PNPCC and NBI facility afford them special treatment as they are subjected to different sets of rules and procedures not afforded to all other detainees under the BJMP control,” the prosecutors said.

They added that “since criminal cases are now pending in court awaiting trial against the accused, they are regarded as detainees and as such, should be detained in a BJMP facility just like all others who are (of) similarly situation. They should not be given special privileges or treatment distinct from all other detainees.”

The other members of the DoJ panel are Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia I. Laroza-Torrevillas and Assistant State Prosecutor Ethel Rea G. Suril.