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Ayaw ma-tokhang! Sta. Isabel asks court to be placed in NBI custody

Fearing for his life, “tokhang for ransom” suspect SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel has appealed to the Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 that he be immediately placed under National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) custody.

In a motion filed before the court, Sta. Isabel’s lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) noted that the respondent’s previous counsels were “forced to withdraw their representation due to threats to their life, security and safety”.

“Since accused herein is a member of the Philippine National Police (PNP), detained at the institution’s detention facility, he fears for his life’s security as the same is in imminent danger as he continuously receives death threats,” the lawyers said in his motion.

“Accused will be safer in the custody of the NBI than with the PNP considering that this case not only involves him but also several high ranking and powerful officials who are still connected with the PNP Organization,” they explained to the court.

Sta. Isabel, a member of the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), has been identified as among the suspects who abducted Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo on October 18 from his home in Angeles City, Pampanga under the pretext of “Oplan Tokhang”.

Jee was subsequently taken to Camp Crame–the PNP headquarters–and killed there.

Sta. Isabel surrendered to the NBI on January 16. However, the PNP took custody of him following the issuance of his arrest warrant on January 20.

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