22 August 2012

WANTED: Benjamin 'Bebs' Reyes

WANTED: Benjamin 'Bebs' Reyes
The case should have been close when one of the perpetrator accused of raping and killing Candice Castro was found guilty by the courts last 2010. However, Grace Castro can only stare blankly at the accused and wonder when the other co-accused will be brought to justice.

Judge Reynaldo Alhambra of the Manila Regional Trial Court 53 has already meted out the penalty of reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment to Philippe Marcelo who was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of raping and killing the 23-year-old bank teller inside her condominium unit in May 2004.

The co accused co-accused, Benjamin 'Bebs' Reyes, son of immigration intelligence officer Benjamin Reyes and the alleged mastermind, had yet to be caught. A warrant was already issued for Reyes' arrest and he is also place on the Manila Police District’s most wanted list.

Marcelo, meanwhile, appeared resigned to his fate unlike his mother and other relatives who were in tears. Soon after the judge's decision was read by a clerk of court, his crying mother hugged him while he bore a stoic expression.

Candice was raped and stabbed dead on 12 May 2004, inside her unit at the 11th floor of the Vellagio Tower on Leon Guinto Street in Malate, Manila. Marcelo, who lived on the sixth floor, was arrested after fresh scratch marks were found on his face which were later found to have been inflicted by the victim.

He then implicated Reyes, saying it was the latter who had raped and killed Candice while keeping him at bay with a knife.

But Reyes, who last appeared before authorities during the preliminary hearing of the case, denied involvement in Candice’s death, saying Marcelo had lied when he linked him to the rape and murder case.

Apart from the prison term, the court also ordered Marcelo to pay the heirs of the victim over PhP 5.7 million in damages.

The court ruled that all of the forensic evidence presented by the prosecution clearly established that Marcelo went inside Candice's unit contrary to his claim that it was only Reyes who assaulted her. It added that Marcelo's testimony that he had no involvement in the victim’s rape and murder deserved 'scant consideration.'