Parañaque City court acquits suspects in Ram Revilla slay
Updated (8:10 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — A Parañaque City court has acquitted the suspects in the killing of actor Ram Revilla.
Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 274 found Revilla’s brother Ramon Joseph Bautista, Michael Jay Nartea, Roy Francis Tolisora, Glaiza Visda, and Ryan Pastera “not guilty” of murder and ordered their release from the detention.
In the 144-page decision, the court also acquitted the six accused, who were likewise charged with frustrated murder for the shooting of Revilla’s girlfriend, Janelle Manahan.
According to the court, the actions of Ramon Joseph — who was present in the village where Revilla was killed — cannot be used to prove a conspiracy between him and the suspect. Ramon Joseph was initially pinpointed as the mastermind of the incident by some witnesses.
The court cited a Supreme Court ruling which states that being present at the crime scene does not make a person guilty of the crime.
“The Honorable Court after careful examination […] nowhere in the testimony of said witness do we find any other act or acts of accused Ramon Joseph, except that he was walking out of the house, that can be construed as constituting an overt act […] that he was in unison and in cohort with the unidentified assailant or assailants in perpetrating the crime in issue,” the court said.
They also banked on investigations by the Philippine National Police (PNP), which found out that not one of the objects found in the crime scene was “traceable” to the acquitted suspects.
“The court takes the testimony and/ or findings of P/Supt. James Fabi Baquiran of the SOCO […] they recovered among other things, cell phone and a scabbard, a fired bullet, and two shell casings of a caliber .45 inside the room and blood stains and a caliber 40 SPS,” it noted.
“The scabbard that was found did not contain any fingerprint. The result of the investigation cannot pinpoint any person in particular,” the court emphasized.
The court, however, issued an alias warrant of arrest against Revilla’s sister, Ma. Ramona Belen Bautista, who remains at-large. The court will archive and review the case Ince Ramona is arrested.
In a previous report, Manahan testified that there were four persons in Revilla’s room on the night of the crime: Revilla, Ramona, another masked person, and her. The masked person supposedly stabbed Revilla several times, until Ramona shouted at him to stop.
Manahan was shot in the face.
Ramona reasoned out that he was abducted by the assailant and was dropped off at a mall. However, this contradicted the testimonies of witnesses who saw her and his brother Ramon Joseph leave the village calmly.
Revilla, whose real name was Ram Gen Bautista, was the son of movie icon and former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr. with former partner Genalyn Magsaysay. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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