MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Wednesday welcomed the Angeles City Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) order to release a policeman who is now a state witness in the abduction and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo two years ago.
“SPO4 Roy Villegas is a state witness under WPP (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. Villegas has since been released from restrictive custody upon his acquittal,” PNP spokesperson, Senior Supt. Bernard Banac, said in a message sent to Philippine News Agency (PNA) when sought for a comment.
In an order dated January 30, RTC Branch 56 Judge Irin Zenaida S. Buan 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 means he already fulfilled his duty as a state witness.
This, according to the court, means that he should already be discharged.
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.
Jee was abducted on October 18, 2016 at Friendship Plaza Subdivision, Angeles City by police officers claiming to enforce an anti-narcotics operation under the “Oplan Tokhang”.
He was brought to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame where he was killed the same day.
Santiago is owner of the Gream Funeral Services, where the body of the victim was brought. (PNA) By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan