A Quezon City court on Dec. 13 found three men guilty in the gruesome killing in 2010 of a Chinese couple and their agent.
In a 51-page decision, Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 97 found principal suspect Jaylord Dimal guilty of three counts of murder. Each one carried a penalty of reclusion perpetua, or up to 40 years in prison, and P100,000 in damages to the victims’ heirs.
His cohorts, Allan Castillo and Robert Bacay, were each sentenced to up to 24 years in prison for being accessories to the crime. They were also ordered to pay P10,000 to the families of each victim.
The nearly decade-long case stemmed from the kidnappping and killing of Lucio and Rosemarie Pua and Gemma Eugenio in Echague, Isabela province, on Sept. 6, 2010. The victims, who were in the rice business, had driven then to Dimal’s compound to collect a P1-million payment for palay.
In addition to the damages, the judge ordered Dimal to pay the couple’s family the money he owed for the palay which totaled P1,207,194.
As the guilty verdict was read to a packed courtroom, Eugenio’s oldest daughter, Stacy, burst into tears, later telling reporters that it wasn’t the decision she expected. “We’ve waited so long for something we weren’t even sure could happen,” she said. “It seemed like just a wish.”
Stacy, who was only in her early 20s when her mother was murdered, added that she was forced to take on the role of both guardian and breadwinner for her three younger siblings.
According to Eduardo Sapipi, who was a state witness in the case, Eugenio and the Puas were killed the same night they drove to the home of Dimal who refused to pay his debt.
“The bodies of the victims were chopped into several pieces, their decapitated heads burned and thrown in different places in Isabela and Quirino,” said the Movement for Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO), which had been assisting the victims’ families from the day the Eugenio’s severed forearm was recovered to filing, monitoring of the case and attending court hearings.
Up to now, authorities have yet to find any of the victims’ body parts. The case against Dimal was bolstered, however, after a raid on his compound yielded several alleged belongings of the victims, including a bank passbook, two Bureau of Immigration-issued alien certificates of registration, a gold earring, a shoulder bag and scraps of clothing. Police also recovered seven bullet casings from a .22-caliber firearm during the raid.
The case, originally handled by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Isabela, was ordered transferred to Quezon City by the Supreme Court after a panel of prosecutors from the Department of Justice took over.
Teresita Ang See, MRPO founder, said that while Dimal masterminded the killing, Castillo helped chopped up the victims’ bodies. Bacay, on the other hand, took part in disposing of the bodies.
“Seeking justice for this depraved act is not easy as we had to endure the long trial which saw venues change and prosecutors switch,” said MRPO chair Ka Kuen Chua. He added, however, that “justice is alive in this country.”
The members of MRPO lauded the judge for her prompt and just resolution of the case despite reportedly receiving pressure from the suspects’ supporters.
They also thanked the Anti-Kidnapping Group and Senior State Prosecutor Olive Torrevillas for their unstinting and continued support during the long and difficult trial.
5 Chinese arrested for kidnapping in Las Piñas City
Five Chinese nationals allegedly part of a kidnap for ransom syndicate were nabbed by authorities in Casimiro Village, Las Piñas City on Dec. 10.
The suspects, Wang Rui, Li Ming, Ju Wenping, Liu Ming and Li Sanjiu, reportedly kidnapped other Chinese nationals based in the Philippines. A Chinese man who was being held captive by the suspects was rescued during the operation.
All five Chinese nationals recently arrived in the country as tourists or temporary visitors, data from the Bureau of Immigration showed.
The arrest of the Chinese nationals comes after the Senate launched a probe against the rise of illegal foreign workers, mostly from China, in the Philippines.