Baguio massacre suspect found guilty

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BAGUIO CITY: Justice was finally handed down to the families of the victims of the Kayang Massacre after almost two years of court battles as the regional trial court here sentenced the suspect to five life imprisonments without parole.

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Presiding Judge Mia Joy Cawed of the Regional Trial Court Branch 4, Baguio City, on Thursday found Phillip Tolentino Avino, the accused in the killing of five persons including three minors on April 6, 2014 in Kayang-Hilltop, Baguio City, guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Cawed said Avino could have been sentenced to death for the brutal murders of the children but the country has no death penalty.

Avino was sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua or life sentence without eligibility to parole for the five counts of murder filed against him.

On the evening of April 9, siblings Jacqueline Kale Marquez Nociete, 19, and Joey Nociete, 9; housemaid Jonalyn Lozano, 32; and two playmates of Joey – Dave de Guzman, 7, and Raymundo del Mundo, 8, were all found dead with multiple stab wounds inside the rented apartment of Vilma Nociete, mother of two of the victims.

After the verdict was handed down, the father of Dave John de Guzman said in an interview, “Masaya kami sa desisyon, pero hindi maisososli ang buhay ng mga anak namin. Subalit sa desisyong ito ay nabigyan ng hustisya ay mapapanatag na ang aming kalooban. [We are happy on the court decision, but the lost lives of our loved ones can never be returned. With the decision justice has been served and we can be at peace].”

Vilma was visibly distraught “Hindi man ninyo kami pinalapit sa kanya [referring to the suspect]at hindi na niya maibabalik ang buhay ng mga anak namin [You never allowed us to get close to the suspect and he can’t return the lost lives of our loved ones.]” The husband, Joey, led Vilma away to be pacified.

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