Wednesday, February 9, 2005                   

Lito Osmeņa comes out,.. vouches for Paco
By Jhunnex Napallacan
    
Correspondent

      FORMER Cebu Governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeņa yesterday said he is convinced that Francisco "Paco" Larraņaga had nothing to do with the abduction and killing of the Chiong sisters.

      Osmeņa said over DYLA that the case of Larraņaga could be a perfect example that the country's judicial system "may be wrong."

     "I am personally convinced that Paco is innocent because he was in Manila when the crime was committed," Osmeņa said.

      Thelma Chiong, the mother of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline, said she was not surprised that the former governor came out with such a statement.

     Chiong said that Larraņaga "could be considered a nephew of the former governor."  

      Chiong said she remained confident that the Supreme Court would stand to its earlier decision. 

      It was not my fault if the Supreme Court has meted the suspects with the capital punishment," she said.

      Last February 3, 2004, the Supreme Court en banc imposed the death penalty on six of the seven young men who were earlier sentenced to a double life term.

      Larraņaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, James Anthony Uy, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caņo were meted the capital punishment for the death of Marijoy and life imprisonment for the disappearance of Jacqueline.

     Another accused, James Andrew Uy, was spared from the death row. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for both charges due to mitigating circumstance that he was 16 years old when the seven young men abducted the Chiong sisters last July 16, 1997 in Ayala Center-Cebu.

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
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