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19 Betti Sy killers get life terms

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MANILA, Philippines - Seventeen men and two women convicted of kidnapping and killing Coca Cola executive Betti Chua Sy six years ago were meted the maximum penalty of life in prison without parole yesterday.

Judge Alexander Balut of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court branch 76 said he could not impose the death sentence on them because Congress had already abolished capital punishment.

Convicted of kidnap for ransom with homicide were Ramon Demol, Ernesto Palla, Lucensio Saliente, Ramil Victoriano, Edith Alaser, Mariolito Demol, Benedicta de Lima, Rodolfo Ortoza, Cerio Macanip Jr., Gerardo Anover, Alejandro Aldas, Cesar Amado, Jose Artoza, Dominador Cornista, Hector Cornista, Fidel Superable, Renato Superable, Alvin Labra and Silverio Superable.

They were ordered to pay, jointly and severally Sy’s family P50,000 each as moral damages and P75,000 each as civil indemnity.

Meanwhile, the case against accused Hunks Cornista, who is at large, was ordered archived, pending his arrest.

Another accused, Romeo Demol, was dropped from the case after he turned state witness.

Mixed emotions of joy and anger prevailed inside the jampacked, heavily guarded courtroom as the Sy family and members of anti-crime groups cheered, while the convicts remained defiant and cursed the crowd after the court decision was read.

Policemen and jail guards restrained and led the convicts out of the courtroom after the promulgation of the case.

Weeping, Maria Sy, the victim’s mother, told reporters she is happy that justice has been given to her only child, who spent Christmas giving gifts to orphanages and other charity institutions.

“We are relieved, at least these criminals would spend the rest of their life in jail. They can no longer inflict harm on other innocent people,” she said.

“I felt her presence, she is with us now and this is her best Christmas gift.”

Court records showed that Betti Chua Sy was driving her Toyota RAV 4 in P. Dela Cruz Street, Novaliches, Quezon City on or about 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2003 when the accused blocked her path and fired shots at the vehicle.

Sy died from loss of blood after she was wounded in the right thigh, according to the medico-legal report.

Her bloodied body was later moved to a Toyota Tamaraw FX and brought to a safehouse in Heritage Homes in Trece Martires, Cavite before it was dumped along Pacific Avenue, Marina Bay Homes in Parañaque the following day.

The kidnappers demanded a ransom of P10 million from the Sy family hours after she was snatched, according to the court. — Perseus Echeminada

ALEJANDRO ALDAS

ALVIN LABRA AND SILVERIO SUPERABLE

BETTI CHUA SY

CERIO MACANIP JR.

CESAR AMADO

COCA COLA

DELA CRUZ STREET

DOMINADOR CORNISTA

EDITH ALASER

ERNESTO PALLA

SY

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