(Metro News) Man gets 40-year jail term for bank teller rape-slay

July 16, 2010 12:01 pm 

MANILA, July 15 — A man was sentenced on Thursday to maximum imprisonment of 40 years by a Manila regional trial court (RTC) in connection with the gruesome rape-slay of a MetroBank teller insider her condominium unit in Malate, Manila in 2004.

Judge Reynaldo Alhambra of Manila RTC Branch 53 found Philippe Marcelo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape with homicide for the death of Candice Castro.

The judge also ordered Marcelo to pay P5.7 million in damages to Castro's heirs.

Records of the case showed that Castro was found dead inside her condominium unit in Malate on May 12, 2004.

Marcelo was ordered to pay the heirs of Castro P100,000 as indemnity ex-delicto, P2,663,250 as unearned income, and actual damages in the following amounts: P155,000 for funeral services, P300,000 for the wake, transportation and incidental expenses as well as P2,325,700 as reimbursement for attorney's fees, P75,000 as moral damages, and P100,000 as exemplary damages.

Meanwhile, Grace Castro, mother of the victim, tried to keep her composure while the court was giving its verdict on the case.

“I think that she (Candice) is not yet happy where she is now despite the guilty verdict that the judge gave. Someone is still off the hook,” she told reporters outside the court.

Castro's mother was referring to Bebs Reyes, 23, a son of Bureau of Immigration intelligence officer Benjamin Reyes who was pointed to as the alleged mastermind in the rape-slay case.

Reyes has been included in the Manila Police District's most-wanted list after a warrant for his arrest was issued on July 27, 2004.

Based on court records, Castro, 23, was found dead inside her unit at the Vellagio Tower on May 12, 2004. Her naked body bore 24 stab wounds.

Marcelo was arrested on the same day. Police cited fresh scratch marks on his face, indicating a struggle with Castro.

But Marcelo, who pleaded not guilty during his arraignment, said it was Reyes who had killed and raped his 23-year-old neighbor.

In convicting Marcelo, Alhambra gave much weight to the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution panel, saying that the evidence “established that the accused Philippe Marcelo went inside Unit 1103 contrary to his claim that it was only Bebs Reyes who assaulted Castro."

Alhambra likewise was not convinced on Marcelo's alibi since the evidence on record "contradicts the latter's claim for innocence."

“The confluence of the testimonial, physical, and forensic evidence against accused Philippe Marcelo creates an unbroken chain of circumstantial evidence that naturally leads to the fair and reasonable conclusion that accused Marcelo committed the special complex crime of rape with homicide,” the judge pointed out. (PNA) scs/JES/ssc

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