A RETIRED soldier was found guilty of murdering a businesswoman inside her store last year.

Retired Army Sergeant Filomeno Amistad was sentenced to 12 years to 14 years imprisonment by Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. for killing businesswoman Lalaine Jore.

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Jore, who owns Gorordo Convenience Store in Barangay Camputhaw, Cebu City, was shot dead by two armed men last Feb. 17, 2009.

Amistad, a former intelligence officer of the 78th Infantry Battalion in Balamban, Cebu, was arrested in March 2009 after he was identified as one of the gunmen.

During the promulgation, the courtroom was filled with wails from the suspect’s family, who were disappointed with the decision of the court.

Josephine, Amistad’s wife, hugged her husband and cried, not believing what she was hearing.

Ethelbert Ouano, Amistad’s lawyer, said they will file a motion for reconsideration.

Louella Jore, the victim’s sister, testified against Amistad.

Louella, who worked in Jore’s store as a cashier, said Amistad and his companion ordered beer from the store.

Mole

After 15 minutes, the two allegedly went inside the store.

Louella said Amistad, armed with a pistol, shot her sister twice and told his companion “tiwasi” (finish her off).

Amistad’s companion then shot Jore, who was lying on the floor.

Louella confirmed to the police that Amistad was one of the two men who appeared in the CCTV camera of her sister’s store.

Luisito Niese, Jore’s employee and another witness, told the court he remembered Amistad through the mole on the right side of his face. Both Louella and Niese were with the police when they arrested Amistad in his home in Carcar City on Feb. 28, 2009.

Defense lawyers presented Helen Grace Gigantana, Amistad’s sister-in-law.

Gigantana said she saw Amistad and his wife driving a motorcycle around 8 p.m. of Feb. 17, 2009, while she was crossing San Jose St. and P. Burgos Highway in Carcar City.

In his ruling, Yrastorza said “with so many people in Carcar and considering the offense is a heinous one, the defense could only present to the witness stand the accused himself and a sister-in-law to corroborate the testimony of the accused that the latter was, indeed, at Carcar at that time or the shooting incident.” (JKV)