MANILA, Philippines—A Quezon City judge has given provisional liberty to one of the two employers of Bonita Baran, the help who was allegedly maltreated for more than a year until she went blind in one eye.
Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi of Regional Trial Court Branch 77 granted the bail petition of Reynold Marzan but did not allow his wife Anna Liza to do likewise.
Legaspi is hearing the serious illegal detention case that Baran filed against her former employers.
In a 17-page decision, the court allowed Reynold to post P300,000 for his temporary liberty but defense lawyer Joel Ferrer said the judge subsequently reduced the bail to P150,000 for the charge of serious illegal detention.
Reynold was released from the Quezon City Jail on Tuesday night while Anna Liza is still detained at the jail’s female dormitory.
“We are weighing options whether to seek reconsideration from the court regarding the denial of bail for Anna Liza or just proceed with speedy trial. Whatever it is we trust that the court will acquit both in the end,” Ferrer said in a text message.
In refusing Anna Liza’s bail petition, the judge said the defense failed to discredit Baran’s account of the maltreatment.
“The court finds no reason to doubt the credibility of Baran. She gave her testimony in a candid and forward manner. She remained consistent all throughout her testimony,” the judge said.
In his ruling, Legaspi noted that while there was sufficient evidence to warrant Anna Liza’s continued detention during trial, the same could not be said of her husband.
Legaspi pointed out that Baran pointed to Anna Liza only as the one who did not allow her to go out and detained her.
In her testimony, the household help claimed it was Anna Liza who dragged and detained her in the storage room.
This, according to the judge, showed that the prosecution failed to show evidence that the couple conspired to detain Baran.
“It appears that the participation of Reynold in the detention of Baran is limited to his act of tolerating the actions of his wife,” Legaspi said, noting Baran’s testimony that Reynold was in his office whenever she was locked up.
“For Baran, Reynold is liable for serious illegal detention because he ignored the misdeed of his wife. However, our legal system does not fix the criminal responsibility of a person on the basis of his or her indifference,” the judge said, adding that the husband’s “mere silence cannot lead to the conclusion that he had cooperated with in the commission of the crime by Anna Liza.”
“There is no showing that Anna Liza could not have accomplished the detention without the disinterested stance of Reynold,” Legaspi said.