The Supreme Court on Friday commended the "swift and efficient" resolution on the murder case against a former policeman who killed a woman and her son in Paniqui, Tarlac last year.
Eight months after the fatal shooting that drew widespread condemnation, sacked policeman Jonel Nuezca was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for two counts of murder over the killing of his neighbors Sonia Gregorio and her son Frank Anthony.
He was handed down a sentence of up to 40 years in jail or reclusion perpetua for each count and ordered to pay the heirs of the victims a total of P952,560.
The decision was issued by Judge Stella Marie Gandia-Asuncion of Paniqui Tarlac Regional Trial Court Branch 106.
"I congratulate Judge Stela Marie Q. Gandia-Asuncion for her swift and efficient resolution of the murder cases raffled to her,” said Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo in a statement released by SC.
“Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic and community quarantines, she was able to hear and resolve these two cases in eight months," he added.
SC said Gandia-Asuncion heard a total of eight witnesses: five for the prosecution, and three for the defense, including the accused, who testified through videoconferencing from the detention facility.
"May her example inspire all of us to continue working towards a Judiciary that is both receptive and responsive to the needs of our citizenry and the community,” Gesmundo said.
Gandia-Asuncion rendered the decision two months ahead of the 10-month deadline for hearing and deciding criminal cases, SC said.
The family of the victims said they have finally found peace after the verdict against Nuezca.
“Napatawad na naman po namin siya. Yun nga lang po kailangan niya pong pagdusahan yung nagawa niya pong kasalanan sa amin, sa pagpatay sa aming ina at sa aking kapatid po,” said Mark Christian Gregorio.
"Gumaan na rin po ang loob namin mula nang ibinaba ang hatol," he added.