Wednesday, January 19, 2005 

Chiong family unfazed..... by Spaniard plea for....... Paco
By Jhunnex Napallacan

      The Chiong family is confident that Francisco "Paco" Larraņaga would still undergo his lethal injection death sentence despite the pleas of three Spanish bar councils.

      Dionisio Chiong, chairman of the Crusade Against Violence (CAV)-Visayas, belittled the amicus curae (friend of the court) briefs to spare Larraņaga's life submitted by the bars of Madrid, Barcelona, and the Basque region of Spain to the Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines, saying that the move of the three foreign bar councils was a desperation move by the Larraņaga family.

      Chiong said that despite Larraņaga's Filipino and Spanish citizenship, the Spanish pleas were unreasonable for the sole reason that Larraņaga has been convicted for a crime committed in the Philippines. 

      Larraņaga and six others were convicted for the rape-slay of Dionisio's daughters, Jacqueline and Marijoy, back in 1997.

      Chiong said that even though Spain does not impose the death penalty, the Philippine does.

      He added that he even heard reports that the Larraņaga family even tried to ask help from Malacaņang, though he was not sure whether the plea was made to the President or to other officials.

      On a sympathetic note, Chiong said that he understands the Larraņaga family's actions, saying that his family would also do everything in their power to save a love one.

      "But we are not afraid. At this point in time, we are one hundred percent sure that justice has been already served to our children through the conviction of Larraņaga and company," Chiong said.

      In an interview yesterday afternoon, Chiong said they have already received reports that the SC mmm

FRANCISCO LARRAŅAGA (right) and the others accused of abducting, raping and killing Marijoy Chiong and abducting her sister Jacqueline listen to the decision of the late judge Martin Ocampo in this May 5, 1999 file photo. Despite three pleas from Spain to spare Larraņaga's life, the Chiong family is confident the death penalty would still be served. 

has denied the Larraņaga family's petition to review the death penalty verdict placed on the accused.

      Chiong said his wife Thelma is currently in Manila to check on the reports.

      When asked however, the SC's Clerk of Court no such ruling has yet been made.

      Meanwhile, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Cebu City President Democrito Barcenas said that the pleas made by Spain were the first he's ever known of a foreign country asking the SC to spare someone from the death penalty.

      Barcenas, however, recalls the time when the European Union (EU) pressured the Philippines to abolish the death penalty.

     Barcenas, who has voiced his opposition of the death penalty, said that the decision is ultimately up to the SC.

      Larraņaga and the six others convicted of Jacqueline and Marijoy's rape-slay were all originally meted life sentences by the late judge Martin Ocampo of the Cebu Regional Trial Court.

      The Larraņaga family moved to have the case reviewed by the SC, which then changed the sentence to that of the death penalty by lethal injection for all the accused except one, who retained the life sentence for being a minor at the time of the crime.

      The Chiong sisters were abducted from the Ayala Center Cebu in July of 1997.

      Days later, Marijoy's  lifeless body was found in a ravine in the town of Carcar, Cebu.

      Jacqueline's body has yet to be found.


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