UNCONFIRMED reports that the body of kidnapped South Korean trader Jee Ick-joo has been burned in a Metro Manila crematorium by his abductors recall past harrowing tales of slain people -- either victims of heinous crimes or hardened criminals summarily killed -- cremated to hide and leave no trace of the crime.
On Tuesday noon, National Bureau of Investigation agents, in coordination with the Caloocan City police station went to the Gream Funeral Services in Barangay Bagbagin, Caloocan City and invited five employees for questioning regarding the disappearance of the Korean whose remains were reportedly cremated and flushed in a toilet.
However, Northern Police District director Chief Supt. Roberto B. Fajardo said no cadaver resembling that of the missing Korean was recovered inside the funeral parlor.
He said the NBI checked the funeral parlor on information provided by Senior Police Officer 1 Ricky Sta. Isabel who surrendered to the NBI last Sunday.
The Korean’s body was allegedly ordered cremated by the mastermind behind his kidnapping and his remains flushed in a toilet to prevent the recovery of the body which would bolster the criminal charges against the killers.
The remains -- which were reportedly burned in another Metro Manila-based crematorium since the Gream Funeral Services does not have a crematorium -- were allegedly thrown into the toilet drain by funeral parlor workers who were afraid that the ashes would be found by authorities and they would be linked to the death of the Korean.
The NPD, NBI, the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group headed by Senior Supt. Glenn Dumlao and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group headed by Senior Supt. Albert Ignatius Ferro are checking the veracity of the information as part of their effort to beef-up the case against Sta. Isabel and his cohorts.
During the late 90s and the early and mid-2000, there were reports that some “salvage” victims and even rogues in uniform who went missing, their bodies never found, were actually cremated in city-run crematoriums.
Authorities fear that an “unholy alliance” with administrators of either government or private-run crematoriums would allow the disposal of the bodies of murder victims like the missing Korean.
If that partnership does exist, the crematorium earns regular money while the crime gang makes sure there would be no trace of their victims -- no “corpus delicti” that would prove the charges against them.
Official procedure requires that remains of a dead person are only cremated with the consent of the family and an official death certificate and other government requirements are presented.
Last Monday, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa said he has asked Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre III to make sure that Sta. Isabel won’t escape from the hands of the NBI.
Gen. Dela Rosa said they have identified at least eight other suspects in the kidnapping-for-ransom of 53-year old Jee Ick-Joo, two of them also police non-commissioned officers like Sta. Isabel.
The PNP chief said another suspect being eyed in the kidnapping of the Korean is a retired policeman who became an elected barangay official in a Metro Manila city. He did not name names but said the retired cop-turned-barangay captain is included in the drug list of President Duterte.
Sources said they were checking reports that the suspect is the owner of the Caloocan City funeral parlor. The ex-policeman is said to be a “high-value drug target” believed to have fled already after sensing he was being hunted by the police.