Cop linked to Korean's murder had P20M assets

UNDER FIRE. SPO3 Ricky Sta Isabel is escorted to the Senate session hall at the start of the probe into the kidnap-slay of a Korean businessman on January 26, 2017. Photo by Joseph Vidal/PRIB

UNDER FIRE. SPO3 Ricky Sta Isabel is escorted to the Senate session hall at the start of the probe into the kidnap-slay of a Korean businessman on January 26, 2017.

Photo by Joseph Vidal/PRIB

MANILA, Philippines – Ricky Sta Isabel, the non-commissioned police officer accused of kidnapping and killing South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo, had a net worth of over P20 million at one point, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Thursday, January 26, during a Senate probe into the case. 

According to Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Roel Obusan, Sta Isabel reported a net worth of over P20 million in 2014, based on PNP records.

In 2015, he had over P17 million in assets, Obusan told the Senate. The PNP has no immediate record of his 2016 net worth. (WATCH: LIVE: Senate hearing on Korean businessman slay)

As Senior Police Officer 3 (SP03), Sta Isabel receives a base monthly pay of P25,394.00, according to data from the PNP. His annual taxable income is over P350,000. 

Sta Isabel is accused of kidnapping and strangling Jee in October 2016. The case is the latest controversy to hit the Philippine police as it wages a war on drugs. (READ: Murder in Crame: Senate probes Korean kidnap-slay case)

Sta Isabel was with the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) at the time of the crime, and his team allegedly used the campaign against illegal drugs as a cover for their illegal activities.

Obusan said Sta Isabel owns at least 5 houses and lots, a 4-story commercial building, and 3 lots in Caloocan City. He also owns a Hilux, a Vios, and two motorcycles.  

Sta Isabel, answering questions from Senator Grace Poe, said he only takes home around P8,000 monthly because he pays several loans from the PNP.

Hardworking wife

The policeman said the bulk of their income is handled by his wife, Jinky, whom he described as "hardworking." Sta Isabel said they have "insurance" and they own a Western Union payment center and a payment outlet. 

Asked where the capital for their businesses came from, Sta Isabel said: "Sa sipag po [ng misis ko] (Through the hard work of my wife)." 

It was his wife who faced the media over the weekend to accuse the police of framing up Sta Isabel.

Sta Isabel said all their assets and liabilities are declared in his State of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth but said he does not know how much they earned in 2016 because it was his wife who handled everything. 

Sta Isabel was assigned to the AIDG when they allegedly kidnapped and killed Jee. The SPO3, however, insisted that he was not part of the actual kidnapping and murder. He does, however, admit that he still saw Jee alive inside Camp Crame. The businessman was later killed in front of the AIDG headquarters the same day he was abducted. 

Who recruited Sta Isabel?

Senators earlier questioned how Sta Isabel was able to enter the PNP. Before a cop is accepted into a unit such as the AIDG, they must be cleared by the Directorate for Intelligence. Sta Isabel, formerly a member of the DI, was given clearance. 

"We presumed he is clean because pagpasok ko as PNP chief, siya ay galing sa director of intelligence," said Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the PNP. 

(We presumed he is clean because when I began my term as PNP chief, he came from the Directorate for Intelligence.)

Yet Sta Isabel's narration of how he got into the AIDG differs from that of his immediate boss, Superintendent Rafael Dumlao. 

AIDG chief Senior Superintendent Albert Ferro earlier said that it was Dumlao who endorsed Sta Isabel. But speaking before the Senate, Dumlao said it was Sta Isabel who approached him to ask for help. Sta Isabel, meanwhile, said he was "pulled" out of the DI because Dumlao wanted him to be part of the AIDG. 

Sta Isabel only joined the AIDG on July 19, 2016, shortly after Dela Rosa assumed command of the police force. – Rappler.com