MANILA, Philippines – A Parañaque court has acquitted RJ Bautista and 5 others over the killing of his brother, Ramgen Revilla, and the frustrated murder of the latter's girfriend in 2011.
The Parañaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 274 said in its decision that it acquitted the 6 of murder and frustrated murder charges due to "lack of sufficient evidence."
On October 29, 2011, Ramgen was shot dead inside their Parañaque home, while his girlfriend, Janelle Manahan, was shot in the face and had to undergo reconstructive surgery.
His siblings RJ and Ramona were charged for the murder. They are the children of the Revilla patriarch, former senator Ramon Revilla Sr.
"This Honorable Court hereby finds the accused Ramon Joseph Bautista, Michael Jay Nartea, Roy Francis Tolisora, Glaiza Vizda, Jan Norwin Dela Cruz and Ryan Pastera, not guilty and are hereby acquitted…for lack of sufficient evidence," the court said.
The court also ordered the 6 released from jail.
The prosecution presented a witness who saw RJ go in and out of the house during the same timeframe as Ramgen’s murder, but the court said this was not enough to pin him down for murder.
“Nowhere in the testimony of said witness do we find any other act or acts of accused Ramon Joseph that can be construed as constituting an overt act within the ambit and contemplation of our criminal law that would make manifest that he was in unison and in cohort with the unidentified assailant or assailants in perpetrating the crimes in issue,” the court said.
The court said the prosecutors were not able to link to the accused one single physical evidence from the crime scene, such as bullets.
Ramgen and RJ’s sister Ramona fled the country during the heat of the prosecution and was never put on trial.
The court ordered the issuance of a new warrant against Ramona.
“The Court further orders that the cases against accused Ma Ramona Belen Bautista be archived and, upon her apprehension, the same shall be revived without further orders from this Honorable Court,” said the decision.
Investigators had said that the possible motive behind the murder was the siblings' quarrel over their huge monthly allowances. – Rappler.com