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Couple to appeal ruling on maid’s abuse case

MANILA, Philippines - The couple sentenced for maltreating their helper Bonita Baran five years ago will appeal the conviction rendered by a local court last month, their lawyer told The STAR yesterday.

Lawyer Joel Ferrer, counsel for Annaliza and Reynold Marzan, said they will file an appeal on the guilty verdict of the Quezon Regional Trial Court Branch 77 last Aug. 4.

“We will file a motion for reconsideration. The charge was conspiracy (to commit the crime), but the court in its ruling said there was no conspiracy,” Ferrer said in a phone interview.

“The court shifted the burden to defense instead of the prosecution, which is tasked to prove that the accused are guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” he added.

In his ruling, Judge Ferdinand Baylon found Annaliza guilty of serious illegal detention and was sentenced to serve up to 40 years in prison.

Reynold, meanwhile, was found guilty of being an accomplice of his wife and was sentenced to serve up to 14 years in prison.

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Ferrer said the court allowed Reynold to remain out on bail pending the finality of the decision. He was asked to post an additional P50,000 bail.

The defense has also asked the court to allow Annaliza to remain at the Quezon City Female Dormitory in Camp Karingal as she is undergoing dialysis at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute.

Female convicts are supposed to be committed at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong, while male convicts are detained at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

Ferrer said the Marzan family was distraught by the guilty verdict.

Meanwhile, Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta, whose office provided assistance to Baran, welcomed the decision.

She said a separate physical injuries case against the Marzans is also pending before a separate court.

Baran sought the assistance of PAO after she was almost blinded due to the supposed maltreatment from the Marzans.

During her testimony, she claimed to have suffered abuse from the hands of her employers, including getting punched, being slammed on doors, and at one point having a hot iron pressed on her face.

She also claimed that the Marzans have not allowed her to leave despite her repeated pleas.

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