No more parole for ex-Dasmariñas vice mayor convicted of murder, kidnapping

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) removed the eligibility for parole of Victor Carungcong, former vice mayor of Dasmariñas City, Cavite, and 3 others who were found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a businessman and his driver in 2008.

CA Associate Justice Elihu Ybañez of the Special 14th Division penned the 46-page decision that upgraded the 4 convicts' sentence of reclusion perpetua, or 20 years and 1 day to 40 years in prison, to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole.

The decision also said they should have been sentenced to death, if not for the abolition of the death penalty in 2006.

Besides Carungcong, the other appellants were Chief Inspector Exequiel Cautiver, Alejandro Entrolizo, and Mariano de Leon alias "Spider." Cautiver was a commanding officer of the Philippine National Police's Special Action Force at Fort Santo Domingo.

Cautiver's wife, Chief Inspector Penelope Cautiver, was initially found guilty as well. But the CA acquitted her because her participation in the crime was "not adequately proved with moral certainty."

In 2016, Judge Eugenio dela Cruz of Pasay City Regional Trial Court Branch 117 convicted Carungcong and the others for kidnapping and killing businessman Demosthenes Cañete and driver Allan Garay in June 2008.

Cañete was Carungcong's brother-in-law, according to reports.

The suspects got the P20-million ransom they demanded, but killed Cañete and Garay anyway.

Authorities found the victims' bodies in separate locations: Cañete in Porac, Pampanga, and Garay in Valenzuela City.

In the CA ruling, the appellants were ordered to jointly pay Cañete's heirs P100,000 as civil indemnity, P100,000 as moral damages, and P100,000 as exemplary damages. This is on top of paying actual damages of P425,670.57 which was spent for Cañete's burial.

The same amounts for civil, moral, and exemplary damages should be paid to Garay's heirs.

These damages will have a 6% interest per year from the date of the decision's finality until they are fully paid, said the CA. – Rappler.com