4 guilty of kidnapping 2 sisters for $80-M ransom
Nine years after posing as policemen to entrap their victims, four men were found guilty of kidnapping two sisters for ransom in Taguig City.
Judge Leili Cruz Suarez of Taguig Regional Trial Court Branch 163 sent Evelio Sabarez, Riel Malquisito Maltos, Lito Destrajo and Ronald Corbes to a maximum prison term of 80 years each (40 per count), and ordered them to pay the sisters’ family P600,000 in damages.
A fifth coaccused, Philip Bacoto, remains at large.
In 2016, Sabarez was also convicted by a Manila court in a 2004 kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) case. He has another KFR case pending in a Bulacan court.
The sisters “Pam” and “Lia,” who were abducted when they were still teenagers studying at the International School, were present at Thursday’s promulgation together with their relatives and the members of Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order (MRPO).
Pam, the older sibling, broke down in tears as justice was served on the same day she turned 27.
On March 19, 2009, the sisters were on their way to school when abducted at a checkpoint set up by the kidnappers, who wore police uniforms, on East Service Road, Taguig. Their captors initially demanded $80 million for their release, but later settled for P1.15 million.
The sisters were freed on March 24, five days after their mother handed over the ransom money to Bacoto in Valenzuela City.
Four of the five kidnappers were later arrested separately in followup police operations.
Like the sisters’ mother, MRPO Chair Ke Kuen Chua expressed dismay over the case taking almost a decade to be decided “despite the overwhelming evidence” against the kidnappers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.