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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)

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