PNP defends release of state witness

Published February 13, 2019, 4:37 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Aaron Recuenco

The Philippine National Police (PNP) sees no problem with the decision of an Angeles City court ordering the release of a police sergeant who was implicated in the controversial killing of South Korean executive Jee Ick Joo.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard Banac (SCREENSHOT / PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)
PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard Banac (SCREENSHOT / PNP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This is because Senior Police Officer 4 Roy Villegas has helped the PNP a lot in the case build-up and eventual prosecution of other accused who planned and carried out the killing of Jee, according to PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard Banac.

Banac said Villegas is actually a state witness who helped pin down other policemen and personalities involved in the killing.

“SPO4 Roy Villegas is a state witness under Witness Protection Program and his testimony strengthened the case filed by the PNP against suspect Ricky Sta. Isabel et. al. in the Jee Ick Joo murder,” said Banac.

Villegas turned witness against his co-accused in the case namely SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel, Supt. Rafael Dumlao III, Jerry Omlang and retired policeman Gerardo Santiago.

They were tagged as the ones who kidnapped Jee in his house in Angeles City under the guise of anti-illegal drugs operation in October 2016.

Jee was then killed right inside Camp Crame, his cadaver was then cremated and his ashes were flushed down a toilet bowl in an apparent bid to clean up all the possible evidence.

After cleaning up the evidence, the suspects then demanded at least P5 million ransom from the family of Jee. The incident was only discovered when the wife of Jee sought the assistance of the media.

The embarrassing death of Jee right inside Camp Crame and at the height of the war on drugs resulted in the PNP being kicked out of the illegal drugs operations. The Anti-Illegal Drugs Group to where the involved cops were assigned was also disbanded.

For his assistance, Banac said Villegas was given some relief especially after the court approves his being a state witness.

“Villegas has since been released from restrictive custody upon his acquittal,” said Banac.

In an order dated January 30, an Angeles City judge granted the motion of Villegas and ordered his release from the restrictive custody of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group.

The court noted that based on the proceedings held in these cases, Villegas already finished his testimony which meant he already fulfilled his duty as a state witness.

Read more: Court orders release of state witness in Korean slay case