ANGELES CITY, Philippines – Four of the suspects in the kidnapping and slaying of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against them.
Supt. Rafael Dumlao III, SPO4 Roy Villegas, Jerry Omlang and Gerardo Santiago all entered not guilty pleas before Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. at the Regional Trial Court Branch 58 here on Wednesday afternoon, May 31.
The fifth suspect, SPO3 Ricky Sta Isabel, refused to enter any plea, prompting Judge Pangilinan to order that a plea of not guilty be entered into the court record for the accused.
Last May 3, Dumlao, Villegas and Omlang pleaded not guilty to two separate cases related to Jee’s case. These included the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Marisa Dawis-Morquicho, Jee’s house help, and the carnapping of the slain Korean businessman’s sports utility vehicle.
On Wednesday, Sta Isabel also refused to enter a plea on these two cases. A plea of not guilty was entered by the court for him.
All the 5 suspects in the 3 cases arrived at the justice hall in this city escorted by policemen and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). They were armed with short and long firearms.
The courtroom had 13 lawyers representing the State and the accused on Wednesday.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas, Assistant State Prosecutor Ethel Suril, and private prosecutor Brian Bantilla were present during the arraignment on May 31.
Sta Isabel was represented by 5 Public Attorney’s Office lawyers that included Marlon Buan, Mary Angeline Syjuco, Reymond Nuqui, Revelyn Ramos-Dacpano and Lester Jay Alan Flore II.
Dumlao was represented by lawyer Mae Ann Abellar; Villegas was represented by lawyer Myra Janina Banaga; Omlang was represented by lawyer Romeo Igot; while lawyer Ramon Vargas represented Santiago.
Jee was abducted from his home in Friendship Plaza Subdivision in this city on October 18 last year and later killed inside Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Morquicho was also abducted but was eventually released by her captors, who used the Korean’s sports utility vehicle in the kidnapping.
The judge also ordered the issuance of subpoena to complainants Morquicho and Jee’s widow Choi Kyung Jin to appear in the July 19 pre-trial at the RTC Branch 58 here.
Morquicho and Jee’s widow Choi Kyung Jin are expected to attend the pre-hearing on the 3 cases at the RTC Branch 58 here on July 19 after Judge Pangilinan issued subpoena to the women.
Choi and several other Koreans, including Korean Embassy Consul Kim Dae Hee, attended the postponed arraignment on the kidnapping and killing of Jee Ick-Joo last April 19. – Rappler.com