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Angeles judge hearing case of slain Korean 'voluntarily' inhibits.

Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. has 'voluntarily' inhibited himself from hearing the criminal cases involving the death of Korean national Jee Ick Joo.

While the motion for inhibition filed by accused Police Supt. Rafael Dumlao III was denied, Judge Pangilinan said he would instead 'voluntarily' inhibit himself from further hearing the cases 'in order to remove any doubt in any and all official acts that will be rendered by the Court.'

The abduction, murder and carnapping cases surrounding Jee's death will be re-raffled to another judge.

'In view of the voluntary inhibition of the undersigned (Judge Pangilinan), the Branch Clerk of Court is directed to immediately transmit the entire original records of these cases to the Office of the Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Court, Angeles City, for re-raffle,' the order dated March 15 stated.

In his motion, Dumlao said Judge Pangilinan should inhibit from hearing the cases after he 'prejudged' the appeal of the lawyers of his co-accused against the court's decision to turn SPO4 Roy Leviste Villegas into a state witness.

But Judge Pangilinan, in his order, stated that 'bare allegations and mere suspicions of partiality are not enough in the absence of evidence to overcome the presumption that a member of the Court will undertake his noble role to dispense justice according to law and evidence and without fear or favor.'

The court, in a decision on January 3, ruled that Villegas' testimony was 'an absolute necessity.'

While Villegas has direct participation in the abduction of Jee, he did not participate in the killing of the Korean executive. He was, however, one of the men who took Jee's body at the Gream Funeral Homes in Caloocan where it was cremated.

'The testimony of accused Villegas is absolutely necessary to prove conspiracy among the accused who are charged with conspiring and confederating with each other on the alleged abduction of Jee and Marisa Morquicho [Jee's househelp] and the subsequent killing of the victim Jee,' the court order read.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Apr 3, 2018
Words:404
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