Appeals Court Sustains Witness in Korean Slay

Manila Bulletin, June 28, 2018 | Go to article overview

Appeals Court Sustains Witness in Korean Slay


By Rey Panaligan

The Court of Appeals (CA) did not stop a government witness from continuing with his testimony in the 2016 death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City.

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Myra Garcia Fernandez, the CA denied the petition of one of the accused, Senior Police Officer 3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, to stop the testimony of state witness Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas.

"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 CA said.

Case records showed that Villegas was one of the police officers who participated in the abduction of Jee. He said he was made to believe that the arrest of Jee was a legitimate anti-illegal drugs operation.

Villegas identified Sta. Isabel as the one who strangled Jee to death after talking to a certain "Sir Dumlao," who, after investigation, turned out to be Superintendent Rafael Dumlao III, also one of the accused.

In his affidavit, Villegas said he realized it was not a legitimate operation of the PNP's Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) but he could not resist for fear of his life and those of the members of his family.

Sta. Isabel had opposed Villegas' testimony before the Angeles City regional trial court (RTC) where the case for kidnapping for ransom with homicide was filed in connection with Jee's death. But the RTC denied the opposition. He then elevated the issue before the CA and pleaded for a restraining order.

He told the CA that "Villegas does not qualify as a state witness and that unless public respondent is enjoined from continuing the hearings, the rights of petitioner would be violated."

The CA did not issue the injunctive relief pleaded by Sta. …

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