MANILA, Philippines — The killing of a Korean businessman might have been staged as part of a "murder for insurance" plot, police investigators disclosed Tuesday.
To recall, murder charges were filed in late February against Police Cpl. Darwin Castillo, who is assigned at the police community precinct along Roxas Boulevard in Manila, and seven others in connection with the murder of Korean businessman Nam Sunuk in Barangay Maysan on February 13.
The 55-year-old's body was discovered in the backseat of his SUV in a vacant lot near the St. Angelus Cemetery in Valenzuela City.
The other seven who underwent inquest proceedings before the Valenzuela prosecutor’s office are Kimberly Radores, Rica Estrella, Rusty Cruz, Josephine Nape, Leana Marie Nagano, Bryan Gulfo and Bryan Escamillas.
In a statement sent to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Police Gen. Debold Sinas, PNP chief, said that the Special Investigation Task Group had established “murder for insurance” as one probable motive for the murder.
According to the extrajudicial confession of two suspects, Sinas said, the murder was staged and planned by the victim himself.
"Investigators have preserved digital evidence of alleged email messages by the victim to one of the suspects which can further assist in a deeper investigation of the case," Sinas said in his statement.
Regardless of the new angle, though, the PNP chief said the individual participation of the suspects is, in itself, enough evidence to establish their culpability in the crime.
In an earlier statement, he disclosed that the suspects "participated in the crime as contact persons and facilitators for the hitmen," according to the SITG's initial findings. At the time, though, police could not establish a motive for the killing.
Based on initial information and evidence gathered, investigators found that the victim was shot and killed in the backseat of his SUV on the night of February 13, allegedly by Gulfo and Escamillas with Castillo tailing behind in a back-up car.
"The PNP will closely coordinate with police counterparts from the Korean National Police through the Korean Embassy in Manila to share notes on the murder case," Sinas said. — Franco Luna with a report from The STAR/Emmanuel Tupas
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