4 convicted in celebrated 2013 robbery-slay case

Published November 15, 2019, 2:07 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Joseph Almer Pedrajas

A Las Piñas court convicted on Friday  four men for the 2013 killing of Kristelle “Kae” Davantes, a case which the Malacañang once said was done in an “unordinary manner.”

Presiding Judge Salvador Timbang Jr. of Las Piñas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 253 sentenced Lloyd Benedict Enriquez, Samuel Decimo, Kelvin Jorek Evangelista and Jomar Pepito to suffer reclusion perpetua after they were found guilty of robbery with homicide.

The convicted killers were also ordered to pay the heirs of the victim P50,000 as death indemnity, P50,000 as moral damages and P25,000 for temperate damages.

Meanwhile, a certain Baser Manalang, who was also one of the accused, remains at-large.

During the promulgation of the case, Davantes’ family were left in tears after hearing the court’s decision six years after the incident happened.

“At least, nakuha namin ang justice,” Pedro Davantes, the father’s victim, told reporters.
“Sabi ko nga, wala naman sa amin ‘yung galit,” he added. “Humingi ako ng clean heart para ‘di ako magtanim ng galit.”

The parents of convicts Evangelista and Enriquez, who were also present, asked forgiveness from Davantes’ parents just the same, in between sobs.

In a 13-page-decision, the court said, “based on what was proved by evidence [their intent] were to rob Kristelle. Their primary action…was to take what they can.”

“[Evangelista] carried a gun, which he pointed at Kristelle Davantes to bring her back to her car,” the document added.

The court said that, the five men sold the personal property of the victim, which confirms the intent to gain—an element of Robbery.

There was also conspiracy in the incident, the document added.

In Sept. 2013, Davantes’ case had sparked calls for justice from all over the country, with friends and supporters calling the incident “senseless” and Sen. Cynthia Villar filing resolution No. 255 condemning her “heinous killing.”
Former President Aquino III also reportedly offered a P2-million reward for the capture of the suspects.

The bounty was deemed proper by the Malacañang, considering the “unordinary manner” of the victim’s killing, said Abigail Valte, then deputy presidential spokesperson.

Davantes was found dead—gagged with a handkerchief, tied using her car’s seatbelt and with five stab wounds on her neck—under a bridge in Silang, Cavite in Sept. 7, 2013.

A knife which was used to kill her was also recovered in the area.

During interrogation, Decimo reportedly admitted that he stabbed the victim after he was ordered by his cohorts to do so. He was the first to be arrested when he was nabbed in a hot-pursuit police operation which stemmed from information from his relatives.

Decimo reportedly said that he and his companions only planned to pull off the robbery the night when the incident happened. He said, they had no intention to kill anyone.

Reggie Diel, who was discharged as State Witness, said that Pepito ordered to kill Davantes as they feared to be remembered after the victim saw their faces and their car, the court document said.

Davantes was at the gate of their house at Moonwalk Village in Las Piñas City from a night out with friends when she was held at gunpoint by Evangelista and Manalang.

She was then taken, pinned down and placed at the back seat of her Toyota Altis. Diel, Evangelista, Manalang were also inside her car.

Diel drove out to Tagaytay City. Decimo, Pepito and Enriquez—aboard a Honda City—followed them.

When police found Davantes’ body, her belongings and her car were already missing.

Davantes’ car was eventually recovered at a subdivision in Las Piñas a week after the incident, when its alarm sounded and caught residents’ attention.

Smoke billowed from inside the car. The court heard that the accused tried to set the car on fire to remove traces of evidence.

Davantes’ laptop and two mobile phones were also recovered at a thrift shop in Alabang, Muntinlupa through information from Decimo. One of the suspects said that he was given P2,300 after selling the gadgets.

Investigators from the police and the National Bureau of Investigation corroborated to unfold the case.