Court upholds life sentence vs Coke exec’s 19 kidnappers
The Court of Appeals has sustained the judgment rendered by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court imposing life imprisonment to 19 individuals who had been found guilty for the kidnap-slay of Coca-Cola executive Betty Chua-Sy.
In a 25-page decision, the CA’s Fourth Division through Associate Justice Carmelita Salandanan Manahan dismissed the appeal of the 19 accused-appellants for failing to show convincing reason that would warrant a reversal of the Quezon City court’s decision issued in December 2009.
The trial court sentenced accused-appellants Alvin Labra, Cesar Amado, Benedicto de Lima, Mariolito Demol, Edith Alazer, Silverio Superable, Renato Superable, Ramon Demol, Ernesto Callos, Fidel Superable, Rodolfo Artoza, Hector Cornista, Jose Artoza Jr., Vicencio Soliat, Ciderio Macanib, Ramil Victoriano, Gerardo Anover and Alejandro Aldas to life imprisonment. Another accused, Hunks Cornista is still at-large.
The appellate court rejected the claim of the accused-appellants that the testimonies of eyewitness Jorlito Lucero and state witness Romeo Dacallos failed to sufficiently prove their direct involvement in the kidnapping.
The CA ruled that the trial court correctly found that the accused-appellants conspired to commit the crime.
“A careful examination of the records shows that there was conspiracy among the accused-appellants since each of the played a role in the commission of the Crime,” the appellate court said. “The collective and concerted acts of the accused-appellants before, during and after the commission ofthe crime clearly proved that they conspired with one another to attain a common purpose of depriving Betty Sy of her liberty and demanding a ransom money in exchange for her release,” it said.
According to the CA, the conspiracy was established through the testimony of Dacallo, one of the accused who turned state witness through his positive identification of the appellants and their exact participation in the execution of the crime. The defense of the appellants constituted mere alibis, which were properly rejected by the lower court, the appellate court noted.
“In the case at bench, it was clearly established that the overt acts of the accused appellants were undoubtedly geared towards unlawfully depriving Betty Sy of her liberty and extorting ransom in the amount of P10 million in exchange for her release. Therefore, accused appellants are liable as principals by direct participation in the crime of kidnapping for ransom with homicide,” the CA held.
Court records showed Sy, 33, was kidnapped on Nov. 17, 2004 in Novaliches while on her way to the office on board a Toyota Rav 4. The suspects shot the victim on the hip while asking the family for P10 million in ransom. The victim was brought to Trece Martires City, Cavite where she died.
Her body was later found wrapped in a garbage bag and dumped along Pacific Avenue, Marina Bay Homes in Don Galo, Parañaque City.
Associate Justices Carmelita Salandanan Manahan concurred with the ruling.