Sta. Isabel: Garbo friend helped me enter intel directorate
He's long been quiet and has generally kept a safe distance away from the media. But during a Senate hearing on the kidnapping and killing of South Korean national Jee Ick Joo, retired police deputy director general Marcelo Garbo Jr was mentioned several times.
Ricky Sta Isabel, a non-commissioned police officer accused of involvement in the crime, admitted that it was through Garbo that he entered the Directorate for Intelligence (DI) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“I applied [with the DI] coming from the Southern Police District. I applied for a spot in Crame so I approached a friend of General Garbo, but I didn’t see General Garbo myself,” said Sta Isabel, who was being asked how he got into the DI.
Garbo is the former Deputy Chief of Administration of the PNP. He retired in February 2016 and has been accused by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte of having links to illegal drugs. Garbo has denied these allegations.
This isn't the first time Garbo has been linked to Sta Isabel. In interviews, Dela Rosa had hinted that a "narco general" was the policeman's patron.
At the hearing, Senator Panfilo Lacson cut off Sta Isabel's narration, pressing the cop on Garbo’s apparent role in making sure Sta Isabel got a slot in the directorate.
“Between General Garbo, who was then DCA, who can better recommend [you to the DI]?” asked Lacson, himself a former chief of the PNP.
“Si General Garbo,” admitted Sta Isabel.
From the DI, Sta Isabel ioined the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) in July 2016. On October 18, several AIDG operatives, including Sta Isabel, abducted Jee from his home in Angeles City.
The same day, the Korean national was brought to Camp Crame, the PNP headquarters, and later, strangled. He was cremated in a Caloocan City funeral home within the same day under a false name.
Fellow AIDG cops who joined the kidnapping allege that Sta Isabel was the one who led efforts to kidnap Jee. Sta Isabel was allegedly the one who strangled Jee himself. He has denied these claims.
Lacson noted that Sta Isabel eventually found himself in the AIDG because of his experience in the DI. Before a cop is admitted to a police unit as sensitive as the AIDG, he must first undergo DI clearance.
AIDG chief Senior Superintendent Albert Ferro said Sta Isabel was recommended by Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, who is also from the AIDG. Sta Isabel, meanwhile, said it was Dumlao who plucked him from the DI for transfer to the AIDG.
But Dumlao says it was Sta Isabel who approached him for help in joining the DI. – Rappler.com
Inside Track is Rappler's intelligencer on people, events, places and everything of public interest. It's a take-off from Newsbreak's Inside Track section. Contributions are most welcome. Just send bits of information to firstname.lastname@example.org.