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DOJ junks funeral parlor owner’s review plea in Jee kidnap-slay case

MANILA-- The Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the petition for review filed by Gerardo Santiago, one of the accused in the kidnapping for ransom with homicide case of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.

In a four-page resolution, DOJ dismissed the petition on the resolution dated April 6, 2017 and May 29, 2017 of the Prosecutor General on the case, as it found probable cause to charge him for being an accessory to the crime for kidnapping for failure to comply the requirement on appeal.

Santiago is the owner of Gream Funeral Services, the funeral parlor in Caloocan City where Jee's remains were initially brought and cremated after he was killed.

He filed the petition for review on the resolution on July 5, 2017.

The DOJ stated that Santiago failed to comply with the following requirement under the abovementioned rule:

1. The petition was filed out of time or beyond 15 days reglementary period. Respondent-appelant stated that he received a copy of the resolution denying the motion for reconsideration on June 20, 201. It appears, however that he filed the petition by personal service with the Department on July 5, 2017;

2. The DOJ also said that no duplicate original or certified true copies of the assailed joint resolutionsdated April6 and May 29, 2017;

3. No proof of service of copy of the petition to the Prosecutor General; and

4. No copies of the complaint affidavit, counter-affidavis ad other evidence submitted by the parties during the preliminary investigation.

The right to appeal is neither a natural right and it is not part of due process. It is merely a statutory priviledge, and may be exercised only in accordance with the law. The party who seeks to avail of the same must comply with the requirements of the rules. Failing to do s, the right to appeal is lost, read the resolution signed by Undersecretary Raymund L. Mecate dated July 24, 2017 but was released to media on Wednesday.

The DOJ added that strict compliance with the rules of court is indispensable for the orderly and speedy disposition of justice. It added that he rules must be followed, otherwise, these will become meaningless and useless.

Aside from Santiago, the other accused were Philippine National Police's Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG) head in Pampanga Superintendent Rafael Dumlao, Senior Police Office 3 (SPO3) Ricky Sta. Isabel and SPO4 Roy Villegas and Jerry Omlang.

Dumlao said in his counter-affidavit denied masterminding the abduction and killing of Jee.

The DOJ earlier amended the information it filed before the Angeles City RTC to include Dumlao; Jerry Omlang, the alleged striker or errand boy at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); and Gerardo Gregorio Santiago, owner of the funeral parlor in Caloocan City where the remains of Jee was initially brought and cremated after he was killed.

The DOJ has originally filed kidnapping and homicide charges against SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel and SPO4 Roy Villegas as well as several individuals identified only by their aliases.

The DOJ affirmed the charge against Sta. Isabel and Villegas in the amended information.

Dumlao, Sta. Isabel , Villegas and Omlang are facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention and carnapping cases before the Angeles City, Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 58 Presiding Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr.

The case is for the abduction of Marisa Dawis Morquicho, Jee's househelp, who was also abducted with the South Korean businessman from their house in Friendship Plaza Subdivision in Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016. Their vehicle, a black Ford Expedition (ABT-1915) was also taken.

On the same day, he was brought to the police headquarters in Camp Crame where he was allegedly strangled to death by Sta. Isabel.

All the accused have been arraigned and pleaded not guilty to the crime.

To recall, the Jan. 17 resolution penned by Torrevillas only named three accused in the kidnapping for ransom with homicide case: Sta. Isabel, Villegas and Yalung while other suspects tagged in the case were identified only through aliases "Pulis," "Ding," "Jerry," and "Sir Dumlao."

The resolution was received by the Pampanga Regional Trial Court Branch 58. The local court granted primary suspect Sta. Isabel's request for reinvestigation.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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