THE custody of the policeman identified as the lead suspect in the abduction and killing of South Korean national Jee Ick-joo will be transferred from the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

On Monday, the Angeles City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 58 granted the omnibus motion filed by SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel who earlier told the court that he fears for his life in the PNP custody.

Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta, the legal counsel of Sta. Isabel, said they requested for transfer of custody "for security reasons."

The Pampanga court likewise granted Sta. Isabel's request for a reinvestigation and ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe anew the kidnap-slay of Ick-joo and submit its findings within 60 days.

Sta. Isabel's camp, Acosta said, also asked the lower court to defer the January 30 arraignment to give way for the reinvestigation.

Granting Sta. Isabel's motion, the court reset the arraignment from January 30 to April 19, 2 p.m.

Sta. Isabel, accused of leading the team of policemen in abducting and killing Jee in his residence at Friendship Plaza Subdivision in Angeles, Pampanga, is facing a case of Kidnapping for Ransom with Homicide along with seven others allegedly involved in the crime.

He earlier sought protective custody with the NBI on January 16 but was later transferred to the PNP after the warrant of arrest was released by the Pampanga RTC last Friday, January 20.

He is expected to be transferred to the NBI Monday afternoon. (SunStar Philippines)