Man guilty of robbing CSU president, gets 8 years in jail
posted 12-Jun-2019  ·  
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Circumstantial evidence has led to the conviction of the man accused of robbing Catanduanes State University President Minerva Morales of nearly P600,000 worth of cash and jewelry three years ago.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 42 found Ryan Valeza Viloria, a lotto outlet crew from Hawan Grande, Virac, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of robbery and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment ranging from two years, four months and one day as minimum to eight years, eight months and one day as maximum.

RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras, who was acting judge at the time the case was heard, also ordered Viloria to pay the CSU president the amount of P569,689.40.

Dr. Morales had told the Court that the foreign currencies taken from her amounted to P174,689.40 while the jewelries were valued at P395,000.

During the trial, Morales testified that at 2:30 A.M. of Aug. 6, 2016, she work up, got her laptop computer, some documents and her shoulder bag and headed to the dining table to do some paper works.

She said that before leaving her bedroom, she knew that the screen door leading to the porch, which has steel grills, was locked by a barrel bolt.

She switched off the bedroom light but left the door unlocked in case she needed to go to her comfort room. After about two hours, at 4:30 A.M., she stood up to go to the comfort room but was surprised that the bedroom door was locked.

She got the key from her bag, opened the door and found that the light was already on, the screen below the barrel bolt had a hole. Now in a panic knowing that someone had intruded into her house, Dr. Morales discovered that her jewelry boxes and foreign currencies were already gone.

The empty jewelry boxes were found outside the house beside the porch.

A key witness, Cherry Mae Valeza, who lived in a house just behind Morales’, was awakened at 2:30 A.M. by the sound of her cellphone and began chatting with her facebook friend. At 3 A.M., she heard a strange sound outside, prompting her to peep through the open window of her bedroom and saw her cousin, Ryan, jumping over the fence at the back of the CSU president’s house.

Ryan then ran towards his house, she told the Court, very certain of what she saw as the place was brightened by the light coming from the house of her aunt.

It was already 5:30 A.M. when she was roused by her father, who asked her for the cellphone number of the Virac police station.

Police officers led by Inspector Darwin Sevilla later established that the suspect destroyed the steel grills and made a hole on the screen door big enough to allow a hand to pass through and unlock the door. The team noted that the destroyed grills were proximate to the very portion of the concrete fence where Viloria was seen jumping and running to his house.

Viloria was later arrested at the house of his live-in partner in Hawan Grande.

In his defense, the accused denied the allegation and claimed he was sleeping, together with his partner and their young child from 1 A.M. to 6 A.M. of Aug. 6, 2016 when he was awakened after the police arrived.

Also testifying on his behalf were his live-in partner, her sister, and their father, all of them attesting to Viloria’s presence in their house that early morning.

The Court, however, noted that their testimony was filled with contradictions and inconsistencies and that Ryan’s witnesses could not be considered as disinterested witnesses as required by jurisprudence due to their close relationship with the accused.

An aunt also tried to discredit Cherry Mae’s testimony, claiming that there were trees and plants between her house and that of Cherry’s that blocked her view of Morales’ house.

However, this was belied by an ocular inspection made by Insp. Sevilla from Cherry’s room, which was just seven meters from the fence with a clear, unobstructed view of the whole area.

Granting that Viloria indeed resided in Hawan Grande, Judge Contreras stated, it could not be physically impossible for him to be at Calatagan at the time of the incident since there was a motorcycle at the house.

An investigator was also told by Viloria’s sister that he went to their house at Calatagan in the evening before the incident and left the place early in the morning the following day. This, the Court stressed, was not refuted by the accused.

The loot reported to have been taken from the Morales – various jewelries, US$700, 500 Canadian dollars, 300 Singapore dollars and three watches worth about P20,000 – has yet to be recovered.

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