Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. also deferred yesterday’s arraignment of Sta. Isabel and two other suspects Romy Yalung and SPO4 Roy Villegas to pave the way for the reinvestigation of their cases and reset it for April 19.
Six lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), led by Mario Dionisio appeared before Pangilinan’s sala to file an urgent omnibus motion for reinvestigation of the case, citing new witnesses and developments.
State prosecutor Jose Pedro Navera said he did not pose objection to the three petitions of the defense lawyers for reinvestigation because of more persons being cited in the case.
Navera said the reinvestigation would pave the way for the proper identification of other respondents in the case, as he noted certain names, such as those of Christopher Allen Gruenberg and Gerardo Santiago. Gruenberg was reportedly the owner of one of the vehicles used in the kidnapping of Jee, while Santiago is the owner of the Gream funeral parlor where Jee’s body was reportedly brought.
Pangilinan ordered the Department of Justice to reinvestigate the case and submit to him the outcome of the new probe within 60 days.
He also ordered the PNP Custodial Service to “immediately” turn over custody of Sta. Isabel to the NBI in Manila.
Suspect Villegas, however, would remain under PNP custody, while Yalung, a resident of Dau in Mabalacat, Pampanga, opted to remain at the Angeles City district jail. Sta. Isabel and Villegas, both in handcuffs, appeared in court with bullet proof vests.
Sta. Isabel removed his bullet proof helmet during the hearing.
On the other hand, Yalung arrived in yellow T-shirt also worn by other Angeles jail inmates who arrived with him for other cases pending before the same court.
Relatives of Yalung were noted to have held a rally in front of the Hall of Justice where the hearing was held, and brought with them placards saying Yalung was not guilty.