BAGUIO CITY — After two years of litigation, justice was finally given to the victims and families of the infamous Kayang Massacre, when the regional trial court here sentenced the suspect to five life imprisonments without parole.

Presiding Judge Mia Joy Cawed of Branch 4, Regional Trial Court, handed down the decision yesterday to Phillip Tolentino Avino, the accused in the killing of five persons including three minors, on April 6, 2014 at an apartment in Kayang-Hilltop Barangay in this city.

Cawed said Avino could have been meted the death penalty for the brutal murders of the children, but because the country’s justice system, she said, has no provisions on the death sentence, the court can only order what the laws stipulate.

Avino was sentenced to suffer reclusion perpetua without eligibility to parole in the five counts of murder filed against him.

It can be recalled that in the evening of April 9, the victims– Jacqueline Nociete,19; his brother Joey,5; Dave John de Guzman,7;
Raymund Delmundo,9; and housemaid Jonalyn Lozano–were found dead with multiple stab wounds inside the apartment rented by Vilma Nociete, mother of two of the fatalities.

Autopsy reports showed that Nociete suffered 17 stab wounds in the chest and back, eight of which were fatal; his brother Joey sustained 15 stab wounds, all in the back, 6 fatal; De Guzman sustained 8 stab wounds on the chest and back, 4 fatal; Delmundo had 5 stab wounds on the back,3 of which fatal; and Lozano, sustained 13 stab wounds in the neck, abdomen, chest, back, 9 of which fatal.

In an interview after the verdict was handed down, the father of one of the victims, the 7-year old de Guzman, expressed elation and satisfaction over the court decision, although “it could no longer bring back the lives of their children.”

Vilma Nociete was visibly distraught and was shouting outside the court room against Avino who, she said, could no longer bring back the lives of their children. Her husband Joey led her away. THOM PICANA/