MANILA, Philippines – Two kidnappers have been meted a verdict of life sentence by a Quezon City trial court after they were found guilty for the kidnapping for ransom of a Filipino-Chinese architect-businessman.
In a statement, the Department of Justice (DOJ) lauded two of its prosecutors and Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Henri Jean-Paul Inting for the conviction.
"Let this serve as a warning to criminals that our law enforcement and court authorities will sustain our commitment to render justice to all," Justice Sec. Leila De Lima said.
Rayan Domla and Christopher Nanson were ordered to serve the penalty of reclusion perpetua and pay the private complainant P300,000 in actual damages, and P50,000 in moral damages.
The court did not consider the alleged total ransom money in the amount of P1,087,800 as actual damages, stating that the prosecution failed to prove it was actually delivered to or received by the accused.
The victim was abducted from his car as he was about to enter his house in Tandang Sora, Quezon City in September 2008.
He was able to remember the facial identities of his abductors (Domla and Nanson) before a bonnet was placed over his head.
While in captivity for 17 days, the kidnappers demanded P70 million as ransom for his safe release. The victim's family deposited the sum of P300,000 in his ATM account which was later withdrawn by the kidnappers.
The victim's whereabouts were traced after residents who live near the house where he was kept informed the police about the "unusual and suspicious movements" of the accused.
Police operatives raided the house, rescued the victim, and arrested Domla and Nanson.
In its ruling, the trial court said "[w]ithout a doubt, the two accused were two of those armed men who kidnapped private complainant for the purpose of extorting ransom from the latter's family for his release."
Another accused, Christopher Olaguera, remains at large. The trial court ordered that the case against him be archived and revived upon his arrest.