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PIA Press Release

Court convicts one on wharf bombing; acquits all on airport bombing

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (3 February) -- Regional Trial Court Branch 12 under Judge Pelagio Paguican has finally rendered a verdict on the bombing cases at the old Davao Airport and at the Sasa Wharf.

In the decision, all suspects were acquitted on the bombing of the old Davao City airport in Sasa "for insufficiency of prosecution's evidence to prove the guilt of all the accused."

Meanwhile, on the decision on the Sasa wharf bombing, four of the suspects were also acquitted except for Toto Akmad who was sentenced with reclusion perpetua (life sentence) "as principal by direct participation of the complex crime of multiple murders with multiple frustrated murder." It also stated that the accused is not illegible for parole.

The court also directed the accused to pay at least R150,000 to each victim's family

Akmad was also directed to pay at least R75,000 for civil indemnity and moral and exemplary damages to the victims' families who filed cases of multiple frustrated murder.

With this, Paguican ordered the release from detention the four suspects who were acquitted unless they are detained for some other charges.

Meanwhile, in an interview over GMA-Davao, Jose Espera, son of one of the victims, Pablita Espera, was pleased with the decision, though he added that nothing could compensate the death of his mother.

"We are happy with the decision that at last, after seven years, the court has finally decided. Though, no amount could replace the loss of my mother," he said.

At least 20 persons were killed and 146 wounded when a homemade bomb exploded at the waiting shed fronting the old Davao International Airport last March 4, 2003. Less than a month later, on April 2, 2003, 13 persons were reportedly killed when a bomb exploded at the arrival area of the port in Sasa, this city. (PIA XI) [top]

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