Retired policeman Gerardo Santiago, who owns Gream Funeral Services in Caloocan City, has surfaced.
At around 6 am on Friday, he arrived at NAIA Terminal 2 from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Canada.
He was fetched by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives following his request that he be put under the agency’s protective custody upon his return.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and NBI Director Dante Gierran presented Santiago in a press conference at the NBI on Friday morning.
Aguirre said, Santiago had asked for acceptance in the DOJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
It was in Santiago’s funeral parlor where SPO3 Ricky Sta. Isabel reportedly brought the remains of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo after he was killed on October 18, 2016.
Investigators discovered Jee’s dead body was immediately cremated as soon as it was brought there.
Santiago refused to talk during the press briefing.
He simply said, “hindi pa po muna ako makakapag-salita dahil hinihintay ko pong dumating ang aking abugado (I won’t speak at this time because I am waiting for the arrival of my lawyer).”
Nevertheless, he claimed he was innocent in the killing of Jee.
“Kaya umuwi po ako [ay] dahil wala po akong kasalanan. Kung ako po ay may kasalanan, hindi po ako babalik dito (I returned home because I have not done anything wrong. If I did something wrong, I would not have come back here).”
Aguirre said, Santiago had been sending surrender feelers since last week.
He said, Santiago is fearing for his life and claims there are threats to his safety.
“The return of Santiago augurs well in our search for the truth in Jee’s death,” Aguirre noted.
“We assure you that we will exert all our efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he added.