The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) sentenced five (5) accused of kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention.
In a 19-page decision, the Manila RTC Branch 55 meted the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua without eligibility of parole against Jonathan Riños, Evelio Sabarez alias Jaime Sabarez, Jose Villamor, Aaron Toribio and Danilo Perpetua for the crimes of Kidnapping for ransom and serious illegal detention for the purpose of extorting money under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code from private complainant-victim Jonathan Tiu.
Justice Secretary Emmanuel L. Caparas hailed the decision of Court as he, likewise, commended Senior Asst. State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas and Asst. State Prosecutor Amanda Felipe for successfully prosecuting the case.
"It is our firm resolve to go after those who defy our laws," Secretary Caparas said.
All five (5) accused were also ordered to pay jointly and severally private complainant Tiu the amount of P8,000,000.00 for the ransom and P100,000.00 civil indemnity, P100,000.00 moral damages and P100,000.00 exemplary damages.
Investigation showed that on 11 February 2004, the above-named accused kidnapped Jonathan Tiu in Manila and detained him in a safe house in Cavite Province and demanded an P8,000,000.00 ransom which was given by the family to the accused.
Victim's wristwatch, cellular phone and wallet containing Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00) were also taken in the process.
Court records showed the presence of conspiracy among the five (5) accused. "Conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a crime and decide to commit it. It may be proved by direct or circumstantial evidence consisting of acts, words or conduct of the alleged conspirators before, during or after the commission of the felony to achieve a common design or purpose," the Court said.
"The series of events that transpired before, during and after the kidnapping incident more than shows that accused Riños, Sabarez, Toribio, Villamor and Perpetua acted in concert in committing the crime," the Court further stressed.