MANILA (UPDATED) — A Quezon City court on Wednesday found members of the Dominguez car theft gang guilty beyond reasonable doubt in the 2011 killing of car dealer Venson Evangelista.
Regional Trial Court Branch 215 judge Rafael Hipolito sentenced the accused to reclusion perpetua.
Originally, the said case was filed against 5 people namely, brothers Roger and Raymond Dominguez, Joel Jacinto, Jayson Miranda, and Ronaldo Talban.
But Raymond Dominguez died of COVID-19 inside the New Bilibid Prison, while Jacinto died of a heart attack.
Evangelista's father, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) President Arsenio "Boy" Evangelista, shed tears at the promulgation.
"Venson, dinala mo ako dito. Ang pangako ko sa 'yo at that time is hanggang dulo lalaban tayo, willing to take the bullet just to see you get justice. Anak, mahal na mahal kita," he said, his voice cracking.
(Venson, you brought me here. My promise to you at that time was we would fight until the end, I was willing to take the bullet just to see you get justice. Son, I love you very much.)
A lawyer of the Dominguez group, lawyer Oscar Caraan, said they would file a motion for reconsideration against the ruling.
The legal team of Evangelista, however, said that in the past 12 years, enough evidence and witness testimonies have surfaced.
The younger Evangelista's charred body was found near an irrigation canal in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija on January 14, 2011.
The day prior, one of the suspects allegedly went to his car shop in Cubao, Quezon City with a mechanic for a test drive of Evangelista's vehicle. It was the last time he was seen alive.
The victim suffered a deep wound in the nape while his face was covered with packing tape, police had said.
A suspect later surrendered to the police, confessed to Evangelista's murder, and pointed to the Dominguez brothers as the heads of a carjacking syndicate and the brains behind the killing.
— With a report from Zyann Ambrosio, ABS-CBN News