Pique family seeks P5M damages from Bella
WITH their case still languishing in court, the Pique family is seeking monetary damages from suspect Bella Ruby Santos in relation to the kidnap-murder of their six-year-old daughter Ellah Joy Pique two years ago.
Lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, counsel of the victim’s family, placed the damages at P5 to P10 million.
The amount includes moral damages and actual damages incurred for funeral and burial expenses and legal fees, he said.
“We will also include the amount which the family should have received had Ellah Joy grew up and (received salaries from her supposed employers),” dela Cerna said in an interview yesterday.
Dela Cerna aired the family’s demand in court. Santos’ lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo said they won’t oppose any amount that will be requested by Ellah Joy’s family.
“We will agree to whatever amount because we can prove the innocence of Bella,” he said. The monetary damages form part of the civil aspect of the case.
The court will determine or approve the amount which the victim’s family ought to receive from the respondent.
A pre-trial conference on the main case was held before Regional Trial Court Judge Ester Veloso of Branch 6 yesterday.
The prosecution intends to present three more witness on top of nine other individuals which they presented during the bail hearings.
A trial was earlier held to find out whether or not Santos will be allowed to post bail.
The court adopted what were stipulated during the bail hearings in the main case.
Villagonzalo said the defense will be presenting at least nine witnesses which will include a child who earlier pointed to another set of suspects.
He said they will also call to the witness stand Senior Supt. Erson Digal, former Cebu provincial police chief who pointed to Norweigan national Sven Berger and Cebuano Karen Esdrelon.
Berger and Esdrelon were the first set of suspects arrested by police in relation to Ellah Joy’s death.
Both were charged but the prosecutors’ office dropped the case when their alibis were proven true. The next hearing is set on April 1.
Santos and her British partner Ian Charles Griffiths are the second set of suspects in the kidnap murder case.
Santos and Griffiths are facing charges of kidnapping with homicide in relation to Ellah Joy’s death.
Santos was arrested in a mall in Metro Manila in October last 2011.
Griffiths, a 51-year-old accountant, on the other hand, is believed to be in Great Britain and is on the “red alert list” of the Interpol as a fugitive wanted for prosecution in the Philippines. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol
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