(Metro News) Manila court convicts 5 for kidnapping Filipino-Chinese trader in 2003

March 28, 2010 11:42 pm 

MANILA, March 28 — The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) has sentenced four men to imprisonment of up to 40 years and a fifth accused to a lighter term for robbing and kidnapping a Filipino-Chinese businessman in 2003.

Convicted for robbery, kidnapping and serious illegal detention were Reynante Manzanero, Mario Tanyag, Arthur Fajardo, Mario Evangelista, and Angelito Evangelista.

Manila RTC 47 Judge Silverio Castillo found them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of kidnapping Filipino-Chinese businessman Tony Chua.

In a 35-page decision, the court issued the commitment order for the convicts at the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

"Wherefore, the court finds accused Reynante Manzanero, Mario Tanyag, Arthur Fajardo, and Mario Evangelista guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the felony of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with ransom, and in conformity with law they are hereby sentenced to suffer separate prison terms of reclusion perpetua and to pay the cost," said Castillo in his decision.

In his decision, Judge Castillo gave a lighter sentence of a maximum of 14 years and eight months in prison to accused Angelito Evangelista since his participation only came in after the victim was kidnapped and held under detention for 37 days.

"With respect to Angelito Evangelita, he is hereby sentenced to suffer prison term of 12 years and one day as minimum to 14 years and eight months as maximum of reclusion temporal," the judge said.

Castillo also ordered the accused to pay Chua P50,000 for the personal property that they took from the complainant during the course of abduction, apart from sentencing them another prison term of a maximum of 10 years for the crime of robbery.

"The evidence further demonstrates that the kidnappers conspired in transporting victim's personal belongings after he was taken and detained inside a room in Tanauan, Batangas," he said.

Court records show that Chua was abducted in 2003 by four of the five accused, who introduced themselves as National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents, after playing mahjong with some of his friends at the Metropolitan Building in Ermita, Manila.

Chua was brought to the safehouse of the accused in Tanauan, Batangas and was held captive for 37 days.

The accused demanded ransom from Chua's family. However, before the family could give the money to the abductors, the victim was able to escape from the accused and sought the help of authorities.

"In the course of the victim's testimony, he positively identified and pointed to accused Mario Evangelista, Reynante Manzanero and Arthur Fajardo as his abductors. He identified Mario Tanyag as the driver of the getaway L-300 Van while accused Angelito Evangelista guarded him during his detention and even gave him biscuits," the judge said in his decision. (PNA) scs/JES

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