Three former members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army were convicted yesterday for the murder of Kabankalan Judge Henry Arles six years ago and sentenced to each suffer reclusion perpetua without parole.
Judge Editha Mina Aguba of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 100, in a 37-page decision, found Alejandro Capunong, Eddie Fortunado, and Jessie Daguia guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the murder of Arles.
Arles was driving home from work when he was shot to death in Barangay Manalad, Ilog, Negros Occidental, 6:30 p.m. on April 24, 2012.
The court was told that Capunong and Fortunado, on board a tricycle, blocked Arles’ car, giving Daguia, who was following them on board a motorcycle, the opportunity to shoot Arles multiple times, causing his instantaneous death.
The court was also told that the three were paid to kill the judge with Daguia getting P81,000, Capunong – P31,000, and Fortunado – P75,000.
“Prize and reward obviously was the main consideration in committing the crime,” the decision noted, but no mention was made on who paid them.
The three accused were arrested on August 22, 2013.
The accused claimed that they were forced earlier to confess to the killing of Arles because they were tortured and threatened, but the judge pointed out that this was not supported by independent evidence.
Their physical examination by Dr. Roberto Rey San Diego, a National Bureau of Investigation medico legal officer, does not support the claim of torture, judge noted.
Their subsequent recantation to their confessions is more of an afterthought and cannot be given merit, the judge said.
“Such repudiation apparently was made to escape the present case. They must not be allowed to play with evidence, much more with justice. They have no license to change their minds at their own whims and caprices without repercussions,” the judge said.
The three accused cannot have their cakes and eat it too, the judge said in her decision, copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR by Arles’ son, Philip.
After serving 30 years, a person sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua may be pardoned. Accused Capunong, Fortunado and Daguia are sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua without parole, Philip Arles said.*
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