File photo shows cop Rafael Dumlao and his wife while authorities arrest him.
The STAR/Boy Santos
Court allows main suspect in Jee Ick Joo kidnap-slay to post bail
Kristine Joy Patag ( - May 7, 2019 - 3:05pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:42 p.m.) — The Angeles court handling the government’s kidnap-slay case of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo granted the plea of the main suspect, cop Rafael Dumlao III, to post bail.

Angeles Regional Trial Court Branch 56 granted Lieutenant Colonel Dumlao’s motion to post bail for his temporary liberty.

The bail is set at P300,000 for each charge Dumlao is facing.

The government filed three cases in connection with the kidnap-slay of Jee Ick Joo: Kidnapping for ransom with homicide, kidnapping and illegal detention and carnapping.

His two co-accused, Police Chief Master Sergeant Ricky Sta. Isabel and “runner” Jerry Omlang, remain in government detention.

Police Executive Master Sergeant Roy Villegas, initially one of the accused in the case, turned state witness and then ordered released in February.

‘Prosecution evidence not strong’

After considering the evidence of the prosecution, the court held that it does not have strong evidence to prove Dumlao's guilt.

 “To hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, they must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the complicity,” the order read.

“Sifting through the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses,the Court holds that none of them proved a particular act or acts of the accused Dumlao that clearly established his complicity in the abduction and killing of Jee,” it added.

The court weighed in on testimony of witness Police Corporal Christopher Baldovino and Police Executive Master Sergeant Roy Villegas, who both told the court of a conversation between Dumlao and Sta. Isabel.

Baldovino relayed that he heard a conversation between the two accused during surveillance on Oct. 4, 2016—Jee was kidnapped on Oct. 18—while Villegas testified on a conversation between Sta. Isabel and Dumlao at Camp Crame, the PNP's national headquarters.

But the court stated: “From these circumstances, the Court holds that when woven together, they do not prove conspiracy.”

“While the said witness may have seen the three conversing, no assumption can be made that their conversation refers to an agreement or plan to kill the victim in this case. Since witness Villegas was not privy to the conversation and no other witness was presented to prove the tenor of the conversation had, the Court cannot consider the said circumstance or actuation as proof that accused Dumlao conspired with his co-accused,” it added.

The court however stressed that while it concluded that the evidence of guilt against Dumlao is not strong “at this point of the proceedings,” the ruling is not without prejudice to the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 

“It has been held that it is not an uncommon occurrence that an accused person granted bail is convicted in due course,” it added.

Hold departure order sought

Prosecution meanwhile sought the issuance of a hold departure order against Dumlao.

In a motion, they argued that Dumlao is charged with capital offenses and is “an active officer of the Philippine National Police and as such, has the training on and has access to devises as a means of escape and evasion.”

They added that Dumlao has the means to travel and “seek refuge in another country.” He is clearly a flight risk, they said.

According to the resolution issued by the Justice department, Jee was killed by policemen inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
The Korean businessman was kidnapped from his residence in Angeles City under the guise of an anti-drug operation. 

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