Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Hope, New Life, Justice Served

PAR DELICTUM: The Act of One is the Act of All


Six Years ago, a terrifying life experience landed in our hands. I was 15 years old back then, young and vulnerable. As known to many of my friends and family acquaintances I am a victim of Kidnap for Ransom. While many would initially have the impression that we are financially overflowing, we’re not. We’re just a middle class, socially established family who just gives out the best for the best.

When people see me and my family today, not a single trace of this incident is evident. I tried to be strong for my family and vice versa. However, when such crime took place I was a minor, I never really understood the intensity of the crime. At some point I crossed over psychological issues just so I won’t fall on my weakness. A lot of people commended on my strength and typifies it to be extraordinary. On the other hand, too much of something is never good, though it’s pleasing to our ears I guess too much strength blinded me to see that such event can happen again. Yes, even the best fall down sometimes. What I considered to be a part of my history repeated itself. Consequently, the repeat of history we now tend to keep in the shelf.

Conversely, today, August 20, 2008, Criminal Case no Q-02-111054 came to an end. The Kidnap for ransom case was promulgated.

WHEREFORE accused Joseph Randy Mendoza y Teves, Maria Victoria Acuatin y Servo, Joselito Mortega y Amayna and Nelson Pilar y florano are hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of kidnapping for ransom, defined and penalized under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code, and are sentenced to suffer the Penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA without eligibility for parole and to indemnify the offended party jointly and severally as follows:

a. The amount of ------------- representing the ransom money;

b. The amount of ------------- as moral damages;

c. The amount of ------------- as exemplary damages.


Under Republic Act No. 7659, the imposition of death penalty is warranted if the motive of the accused is to ransom for the release of the kidnap victim. Considering that Republic Act. No. 9346, entitled, “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines”, which was signed into law on June 24, 2006, the penalty imposed upon accused, is reduced from death to reclusion perpetua without eligibility for parole (Sec 3, Rep. Act 4203, otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended).

While sentence was being propagated, tears were racing down my cheeks. As the details of this history were read it became so vivid. The scenes were flashing back as if they were real. I remember how I tried to console myself during those times, though it was a bit funny, the gravity of this incident was less because I thought I was just doing a movie. I was just an actress and they were the usual big ugly villains. Today, I was mesmerized to see that my movie depicts reality, mine was real. I can shout that I am in high spirits, and those tears I cried were not only tears of joy, but also tears of liberty. I am happy not because my villains will be placed behind the rails, but for the reason that today I know I am offering them my forgiveness (ex gratia). Considering the suspension of Death Penalty, they should reflect on the bright side of life. If only today was 2 years earlier, I am also not sure if I can bear such price.

It seems today, that 6 years ago was just a few weeks back. It took us a very long time to get what we were aiming for. As though it happened so late, it’s better than never. Justice was served, and that’s all that matters.

Today as justice took its place I try to find a whole new meaning to my existence. I was at the edge of death not once, but more than twice. Death is not yet calling; it is not yet my time. I still have to celebrate life finding why my name describes my chances of survival.

“Though I hate to broadcast my life drama, it’s just fair and right to share the details of a happy ending to those people who’ve been there all through out the proceedings. Many people were involved and deserve to be gratified; I guess they already know who they are. For that, Thank You. Vielen Dank”