MANILA (UPDATE) - A Pampanga court expanded on Thursday the hold departure order (HDO) it issued against the primary suspect in the 2016 kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
The Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 56 amended its earlier order barring Police Lt. Col. Rafael Dumlao III from leaving the country, directing that it should cover "all airports and seaports."
Government prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera filed an urgent ex parte motion to amend the May 8 order earlier in the day.
The prosecution sought the HDO to prevent Dumlao from fleeing the country after he was allowed to post bail. It was initially only directed to the "Travel Control Bureau of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), Pasay City."
"The Honorable Court must know that there are other international airports and seaports in the Philippines. The People stress that directing only the BID in NAIA would render inutile the very purpose of the HDO since there are other airports and seaports where accused can clearly and easily depart from to escape and seek refuge in another country," prosecutors argued in their 5-page motion.
Dumlao is accused of masterminding Jee's kidnapping and slay in October 2016, for which he is facing a kidnapping for ransom with homicide charge.
He is facing 2 other criminal cases: kidnapping and serious illegal detention of Jee's helper, Marissa Morquicho, and carnapping of Jee's sports utility vehicle.
Also facing the same criminal charges are Police Chief M/Sgt. Ricky Sta. Isabel and former National Bureau of Investigation agent Jerry Omlang. The Angeles court had earlier denied Sta. Isabel's and Omlang's plea for bail citing testimonies of prosecution witnesses positively identifying their participation in the crimes charged.
Gerardo Santiago, the owner of a funeral parlor in Caloocan City where Jee's body was brought after he was killed also face a kidnapping for ransom with homicide charge.
A fifth suspect, SPO4 Roy Villegas, turned state witness in January 2018.
DOJ prosecutors filed the motion despite assurance from DOJ Spokesperson Undersecretary Markk Perete that the HDO issued by the Angeles court already covers all airports and seaports.
"The BI only has one system. NAIA is not isolated or separate from that system," he told ABS-CBN News in a text message on Wednesday.
"Also, to construe it as applicable only to NAIA will be absurd as the HDO will be ineffectual as the subject could just use other airports. In such a case, such HDO is no HDO at all," he added.