Monday, June 28, 2004 

SC blocks move to.......... dig up Marijoy
by Suzzane B. Salva

     THE SUPREME Court has shut the door to a last ditch attempt to exhume the remains of Marijoy Chiong and subject them to a DNA examination.

     In a resolution dated May 5, 2004, the Supreme Court en banc denied the motion of Eric Carin, lawyer of brothers James Andrew and James Anthony Uy, to dig up Marijoy's corpse for tests that would establish its identity.

     "Denied for lack of merit, the motion for exhumation of corpse for DNA testing," the SC resolution read.

     Marijoy's corpse is buried at the Queen City Memorial Garden Cebu City.

     Carin could not be reached for comment.

     Thelma Chiong, mother of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline, expressed her elation at the SC decision.

     "We are happy because with that decision, it means that the SC acknowledges that the body found in Tan-awan, Carcar was that of my daughter, Marijoy," she said.  

     Thelma said she was confident that the SC would not reverse its decision sentencing seven convicts to die by lethal injection for the sisters' abduction.

     The Uy brothers, through lawyer Carin, requested a DNA examination of the body found in Tan-awan, Carcar on July 18, 1997 to ascertain its identity.

     In his opinion, Carin said no less than judge Ocampo expressed "in no uncertain terms the court's serious doubt as to the identity of the corpse."

     He prayed that the execution of the death sentence be held in abeyance" until after the results of the DNA testing."

     Juan Miguel del Gallego, a prominent Cebu businessman who is on a crusade to save Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga and the six other convicts, said the body recovered from Tan-awan was not Marijoy.

DIONISIO  and  Thelma Chiong  at the tomb of their  slain
daughters Marijoy and Jacqueline: Trust the SC.

      "The body in the hill is not Marijoy, we also do not know who was the one buried. Nobody accompanied the body from Carcar to Rolling Hills," he said.

      Del Gallego stepped down as chairman of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to concentrate on his crusade said the denial of the SC of the motion for exhumation "did not matter and was a blessing in disguise."

     Three of his daughters, who are friends of Larraņaga's, executed affidavits that accused was with them in Manila during the commission of the crime on July 16, 1997.

     "Del Gallego said he was still trying to convince witnesses to come forward "and help shed light on the truth."

     The justices of the high court also required the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on a motion filed by the convicts in the controversial Chiong sisters' case seeking reconsideration of the SC ruling dated February 2, 2004.

     In that ruling, the SC en banc affirmed the findings of the late Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo and raised the penalty imposed on six of the "Chiong 7" from double life term to the death penalty on six of the seven young men.

     Those sentenced to die by lethal injection were Larraņaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caņo, Ariel Balansag and James Andrew Uy.

     Another accused, James Anthony, was spared from the death penalty because of minority. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

     Lawyer Sedfrey Ordonez, a former justice secretary during the administration of then President Corazon Aquino, has recently entered as co-counsel for Aznar.

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