on-case Senior Inspector Jonathan Rabanal, the payoff took place at the parking lot of the Central Town Mall located along Friendship Highway corner Angeles-Porac Road in Barangay Cutcut, Angeles City on October 31 last year.
Rabanal said the suspects, allegedly led by SPO3 Ricky Molabola Sta. Isabel, detailed at the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) stationed at Camp Crame in Quezon City, took the bag of money from the vehicle - a late model Honda Civic (without license plates) - of Joo’s wife identified as Mrs. Choi.
Rabanal said that before the payoff, one of the suspects instructed Mrs. Choi to initially produce P5-million, with another P3-million to be delivered on the night of October 31 in an area between Puregold and Jollibee along the PoracAngeles Road.
Mrs. Choi, in her sworn statement said that she was instructed by the man on the other end of the phone to park the vehicle, leave the engine running with doors unlocked and was also told to get inside the nearby restaurant where she will supposedly meet her husband.
Mrs. Choi said in her statement that she was with her nephew and stayed for more than 30 minutes inside the restaurant. “After more than 30 minutes we went back to our car only to find out that the bags of money were gone.”
Mrs. Choi furthered that despite the ransom, her husband remained in captivity and was not released. She said she got another call after two days---and this time, the suspect asked for P4.5 million more but she declined until they (suspects) can show proof of life. And besides, Choi said, she had no more money.
House help Dawis, in her case, sought refuge at the residence of her older brother in Valenzuela City after she was freed by the suspects. She was taken to Angeles City by her relatives where they informed the local police of the incident.
The PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group-Luzon Field Unit (AFGLFU) however, filed criminal charges ranging from kidnapping-for-ransom and serious illegal detention against Sta. Isabel, of Tierra Nova, Royale ll Subdivision, Caloocan City; Ramon Vitug Yalung, of Bagong Lipunan Road, Barangay Duquit, Mabalacat City; and three other John Does. Rescue assured Meanwhile Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Dela Rosa personally assured Mrs. Choi of her husband’s immediate rescue and arrest of his captors including, allegedly, the cop from the PNP-Anti-illegal Drugs Group.
PNP spokesperson Dionardo Carlos said Dela Rosa had a meeting on Wednesday with Choi Kyung Jin, the wife of businessman Jee Ick-Joo.
The suspects reportedly introduced themselves as policemen from the PNP anti-narcotics division before taking Ick-joo on board a black van.
Carlos said Jin informed the police chief that she paid P5 million, then an additional P3 million ransom for her husband’s release but the captors refused to do so and instead asked her for another P4.5 million.
Earlier, Dela Rosa ordered the PNP to place under restrictive custody the police officer from Pampanga while undergoing investigation in relation to his alleged involvement on the incident.
He also mobilized PNP operating units for manhunt operations against a former anti-narcotics policeman who is believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Ick-joo.
Carlos said Dela Rosa also personally asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to assign a special prosecutor to handle the case. (With Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/Sunnex)