THE embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) has sacked an official of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) for his supposed involvement in the kidnapping and killing of South Korean business executive Jee Ick Joo using the anti-drug war as pretext.
PNP Director General Ronald de la Rosa said he had placed under restrictive custody Supt. Rafael Dumlao 3rd. This means Dumlao must inform his superiors and get a police escort before leaving the PNP’s Camp Crame headquarters.
Dumlao was identified as “Sir Dumlao” in the criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice last week against seven people in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Jee last October.
One of the accused, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Roy Villegas, mentioned Dumlao in his affidavit.
SPO3 Ricky Santa Isabel, the principal suspect, on Friday told reporters he only followed Dumlao’s instructions.
He claimed he had sufficient evidence to show that Dumlao was behind the kidnapping and killing of Jee. Santa Isabel’s wife Jinky backed the claim but did not show proof.
Jee and his house help were abducted by a group of AIDG men, allegedly headed by Santa Isabel, from the Korean businessman’s home in Angeles City on October 18. The helper was later freed.
But Santa Isabel allegedly killed Jee by strangulation inside a car parked at the AIDG headquarters near the office and the “White House,” or official residence, of de la Rosa, also on October 18.
The remains were later processed in a Caloocan City funeral parlor owned by retired SPO2 Gerardo Gregorio “Ding” Santiago, then cremated to hide the evidence, investigators found.
Despite Jee’s killing, the kidnappers managed to get P5 million from his wife on October 31.
The kidnappers asked for an additional P4.5 million from the victim’s wife, but the latter refused after her husband was not released.
The modus operandi was branded by the media as “tokhang-for-ransom” after Oplan “Tokhang” or “knock and plead,” in which police operatives go to the homes of drug suspects to encourage them to surrender.
Dumlao has vehemently denied the accusations against him, saying all pieces of evidence showed that Santa Isabel was Jee’s killer.
‘Cloud of doubt’
De la Rosa, who has rejected calls, including from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, for his resignation, said he saw a cloud of doubt on Dumlao’s denial.
The PNP chief said Dumlao was “hiding something.”
Moreover, de la Rosa said a “credible” witness, whom he refused to identify, had claimed Dumlao was present when Jee was killed.
Santa Isabel was also present, according to the same witness, de la Rosa said.
The PNP chief said there would be no sacred cows in the investigation as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Indicted last week for the crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide were Santa Isabel, Villegas and SPO4 Ramon Yalung. Also charged were John Does identified only as “Pulis,” “Jerry,” “Sir Dumlao” and “Ding.”
Aside from Dumlao, Santa Isabel, Villegas, Yalung and Santiago, retired deputy director general Marcelo Garbo is also being suspected of involvement.
Garbo was one of two retired police generals linked by Duterte to the drug trade last year.