A court has dismissed the raps filed against the father-and-son suspects in the brutal killing of a woman found 10 years ago stuffed inside a steel drum in the waters of Navotas City, citing a lack of evidence.
The Malabon Regional Trial Court ruled there was a “dearth of evidence on record” to convict Manuel Jimenez III, the victim’s estranged husband; and his father, lawyer Manuel Jimenez Jr. for parricide and murder, respectively.
Two rulings vacating the charges against both men came in recent months but were only made public on Monday.
The ruling came after Manuel Montero, a one-time suspect who turned witness to implicate the Jimenezes in the death of Ruby Rose Barrameda, recanted his testimony in 2013 and vanished without a trace, Rappler reported.
The court dismissed the charges against the younger Jimenez last month, while those faced by his father and codefendants Lennard “Spyke” Descalso and Norberto Ponce were thrown out in July, according to The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Barrameda, the sister of former actress Rochelle Barrameda, went missing in 2007 after visiting her children at a home owned by the Jimenezes. Prior to that, she and her estranged husband had been locked in a custody battle. Her remains were found in 2009 when Montero, a former employee of the Jimenezes, led police to the drum containing her body.
According to Montero, she was abducted by a group of men including both Jimenezes, her uncle-in-law Lope Jimenez, household staff Eric Fernandez, Descalso, and Ponce. Descalso allegedly strangled her to death and put her body inside the steel drum, which was later filled with cement. The drum was then placed inside a steel box, which was also filled with cement, then dumped into the sea of Navotas.
Lope and Fernandez remain at large, and the charges against them are before the court.
Despite the dismissal of the charges, Barrameda’s family has vowed to continue seeking justice and asked for President Rodrigo Duterte’s help in re-opening the case, reported news program Saksi.
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