Saturday, February 21, 2004
"I CANNOT and I will not just keep quiet and let an innocent man
die!" With this assertion, prominent Cebu businessman Miguel Juan del
Gallego yesterday stunned colleagues in a business lunch by announcing his
resignation as chairman of the Philippine Business for Social Progress
(PBSP) Visayas chapter which he has headed since 1992.
"I truly believe in Paco's innocence and I truly empathize with the Chiong family for their loss. In time, they will appreciate what I am doing," he said.
With tears in his eyes, Del Gallego walked away from the podium after his speech to join his family at the back of the ballroom of the Cebu City Sports Club and left the venue. At 5:30 p.m. he boarded a flight for Manila.
Lawyers of the Larraņaga family are preparing to file a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court which recently handed down the death sentence for Larraņaga and five other men accused of kidnapping Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong in Cebu City last July 16, 1997.
The PBSP is the country's largest corporate-led social development foundation and spends millions of pesos supporting projects that address poverty.
"You can see he was very passionate about this. Yes, I will support him," Domingo told Cebu Daily News after the meeting.
The decision shook the PBSP Visayas executive committee and national officers, who had no inkling he was stepping down. Del Gallego was about to be selected for another term. He broke the news after giving his annual report on anti-poverty projects in the Visayas.
PBSP national chairman Manuel Pangilinan of PLDT, who was present, was among those caught mmm
off-guard. Pangilinan thanked Del Gallego for his longtime service and proceeded with the rest of the program.
Del Gallego went public with his "crusade" about two weeks ago, prompted in part by a daughter's e-mail from the United States bewailing the "injustice" of Larraņaga's fate of death by lethal injection.
Three of his daughters were among Larraņaga's friends who insist to this day that the young man couldn't have committed the crime because he was at a party with them in Manila the night of July 16, 1997 when the Chiong sisters disappeared.
daughters would not lie to me," Del Gallego told Cebu Daily News in an
father, he who fought in Bataan and endure the Death March for our beloved
country, always taught us to stand for truth and justice. I want to leave
the same legacy to my children."
The crusade was, according to Del Gallego, a family decision and also puts them at risk.
asked the PBSP members to "pray that nothing untoward will happen to any
member of my family because of this, our crusade for truth and justice. I
love them so much."
THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR CLEARER APPRECIATION.
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