MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan — It’s the end of the road for Raymond Dominguez, who is touted as the “carnap king” of Bulacan.

A Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge Tuesday sentenced Dominguez and meted 17 to 30 years of imprisonment, his first conviction on more than 10 other similar cases filed and pending in different courts in Bulacan, Pampanga and Metro Manila.

Bulacan RTC Branch 84 Judge Wilfredo Nieves found Dominguez guilty of the complaint of carjacking filed by Dante Escoto, a driver of Crocodile Tape and Co. Inc. who claimed that the convicted leader of the dreaded Dominguez carnapping group, along with two other unidentified suspects, forcibly took from him a black Toyota Fortuner with plate number ZGW-872 on Jan. 14, 2010.

In an 11-page decision promulgated Tuesday, the court stated that the snatching of the Toyota Fortuner happened in broad daylight in front of the Pot of Gold store along the Mac-Arthur Highway in Barangay Saog in Marilao town.

Escoto parked the vehicle and was inquiring at a car store for the replacement of the matting of his service vehicle when Dominguez and his two cohorts arrived and approached the subject Fortuner.

Record shows Dominguez held Escoto on his collar and guarded him while one of his two companions drove and made a reverse move of the Fortuner.

When the vehicle was ready to move forward, Dominguez pushed Escoto away and later boarded the vehicle which sped off toward Meycauayan City.

Faustino Casilang, 64, a store owner who witnessed the incident, testified in court against Dominguez.

He positively identified Dominguez through a police rouge gallery presented by policemen in Marilao.

Nieves gave weight on Casilang’s testimony and the Marilao police’s presentation of the pictures of carnapping suspects as the basis of his decision.

“Irrefutably, the Court is persuaded that the prosecution has sufficiently established that the subject carnapping incident of the Toyota Corolla Fortuner with plate no. ZGW-872 on the date and place cited above indeed occurred in broad day light and in the presence of several persons, among whom is Casilang. It was likewise clearly established by prosecution evidence that Escoto was the driver of the Fortuner when it was forcibly taken from him.”

“No proof was elicited by the defense that Casingal was motivated by evil motive or malicious intention to unduly implicate Dominguez as one of the perpetrators of the subject carnapping in order to show that the former is a biased and an unreliable witness.”

Nieves said the defense failed to present evidence to prove Dominguez’s claims that he was nowhere in Bulacan during the incident as he would not stay in the province because he is facing other cases in other places, including Metro Manila.

The RTC judge, however, dismissed the robbery charges against Dominguez in the said incident.

Escoto complained that the carjacking leader, along with his two companions, also took away a laptop, wrist watch, gold bracelet, necklace and P4,000 cash.

Atty. Jose Cruz, Dominguez’s lawyer, said the decision came as a surprise to them but they have to respect how the court analyzed the presented testimonies and evidence.

Cruz said an earlier case of carnapping with homicide at Branch 11 of the Bulacan RTC, as well as illegal possession of firearms also against Dominguez were already dismissed.

He told reporters they will elevate the case before the Court of Appeals.

Cruz said they do not expect Dominguez to be moved in to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City because he has to attend the hearings of other carjacking cases filed against him, including that of Venzon Evangelista, a car dealer who was allegedly victimized by the Dominguez group in January last year in Quezon City.

The case is being heard in a court in Quezon City.  (PNA)

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