Jul 12, 2021 @ 20:44

Umapela pa kasi! Employer who locked up maid at home now gets 40 years, instead of 14

Reynold Marzan, who locked up his maid at home, did not only lose his appeal but even got the Supreme Court (SC) to increase his sentence to up to 40 years, instead of just the 8 to 14-year term imposed by the lower courts.

In a 15-page minute resolution on G.R. No. 248905, the SC 2nd Division declared Reynold “guilty as principal” for the serious illegal detention of maltreated and blinded household helper Bonita Baran.

He was sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered to pay Baran P75,000 as moral damages, P75,000 as exemplary damages, and P75,000 as civil indemnity.

Meanwhile, the case against his wife Anna Liza was dismissed because she died on June 22, 2020.

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the Court of Appeals (CA), in their decisions dated July 14, 2017 and January 31, 2019, imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua on Anna Liza, but sentenced Reynold to only 8 years and 1 day to a maximum of 14 years, 4 months and 1 day in prison.

Both courts found him to be guilty as a mere accomplice. But, the SC found his participation in Bonita’s abuse to be greater and said he was “not an innocent bystander in this case” since she testified that he himself locked the main door of the house to prevent her escape.

“Not only did he know about Anna Liza’s repeated acts of detaining Bonita inside the rooms of their residence, he himself actively participated therein each time by also locking the main door of the house. This overt act was clearly in furtherance of a conspiracy to detain Bonita against her will,” read the minute resolution signed by Deputy Division Clerk of Court Ma. Consolacion Gaminde-Cruzada.

Bonita’s plight became national news and was even the subject of an investigation by the Senate committee on labor.

She was first employed in February 2007, but she began to be maltreated in April 2008. Evidence showed that Anna Liza slapped, kicked, and punched Baran, banged her head, and threw things at her. Anna Liza hit Bonita in the eye with a dumbbell at one point.

In June 2009, Bonita begged to be allowed to return to her family in Catanduanes, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Since then, she was no longer allowed to leave the house, and was locked inside the comfort room, the storage room, the bedroom, or under the stairs.

The couple detained the maid at their home in Las Villas del Cielo, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City, from June 2009 to May 2012, or a period of two years and 11 months. After Bonita finally lost her vision in the right eye, they allowed her to go home to her shocked family. She eventually became fully blind. #

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