3 Indian nationals acquitted of kidnapping by Manila court
MANILA, Philippines—Three Indian nationals were acquitted on Tuesday by a Manila court of charges that they kidnapped a suspected loan shark due to inconsistencies in the latter’s testimony.
Judge Virgilio Macaraig of the Regional Trial Court Branch 37 acquitted Gurdashan Singh, Sukhdev Singh Bhangu and Gurmeet Singh on the grounds of reasonable doubt because the statements of the complainant, Markhan Singh, were “unnatural, full of material inconsistencies and contrary to human experience.”
Macaraig cited as inconsistencies Singh’s failure to describe the room where he was supposedly held and his testimony that he got to keep his cell phone during his detention.
Another accused, Bootah Singh, was killed in 2009 while detained in Bataan provincial jail for another case.
Markhan, also an Indian national, testified that he was taken at gunpoint on Dec. 22, 2005, in Sta. Ana, Manila. After more than an hour of travel while blindfolded, he was detained in a room where his abductors allegedly demanded P20 million by calling his brother using his cell phone. He said he was released on December 25 after a payment of P8 million.
Markhan, however, filed a case only two years after, when he learned that some Indian nationals were arrested in Bataan for a different kidnapping case. He went to Bataan jail to point at Bootah and Gurmeet and identified Gurdashan and Sukhdev through a gallery.
Judge Macaraig cited the lapse of time in the filing of charges and the lack of corroboration by relatives about Markhan’s disappearance at that time and the demand for and subsequent payment of ransom, as alleged by Markhan.
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