MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Four suspects in the murder of Masbate City Mayor Moises Espinosa Jr. were sentenced to life imprisonment by a Manila court on Wednesday.
In a 57-page decision, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 41 Judge Rosalyn Mislos-Loja meted the penalty of reclusion perpetua against Masbate jail warden Charlie Quidato, prison guard Isagani Quidato, Ramilo Ayque and Alex Alteza.
Two other suspects identified as Dindo Niez and Pio Badaguas were sentenced 20 to 40 years imprisonment.
The suspects were also ordered to pay P75,000 in civil indemnity, P1 million pesos in burial and funeral expenses, and more than P4 million for lost earnings and P50,000 in exemplary damages.
“Despite the 10 years, still there is conviction. We lost 3, my father, my uncle and my brother, so syempre…’yung sakit nandiyan lagi,” said Espinosa’s sister Maloli.
Maloli, however, believes that the mastermind behind the killing is still at large.
Meanwhile, Charlie Quidato said they will appeal the court’s decision.
“Hindi patas ang laban, wala kaming kasalanan,” he said.
Espinosa and civilians Fidela Marcos, Henry Regalado, and Junicel Cuanan were gunned down last August 9, 2001 in Masbate City while celebrating the town's fiesta in Barangay Bantigue.
Espinosa’s father, a former Masbate lawmaker, was also shot dead in 1989. -- Reports from Arnell Ozaeta, dzMM; Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News