Thursday, February 10, 2005                  

Fr. Reyes to run for Paco 
By Suzzane B. Salva

      RUNNING priest Robert Reyes will be pounding the major streets of Cebu City this Friday, this time for "convicts who have been wrongly judged," among them Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga.

      Some witnesses who vouched for Paco's innocence would be joining Fr. Reyes' run, Margarita Larraņaga, Paco's mother, told Cebu Daily News yesterday.

      The witnesses had testified that Paco was allegedly drinking with them in a Quezon City bar on the night of July 17, 1997, (actually evening of July 16 till early morning of July 17, 1997....webmaster), when sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong were abducted and raped in Cebu City, 

      After assembling at Kauna Grill near Ayala, the runners will jog along Gorordo St. to the Palace of Justice.  

      Those who confirmed their attendance in Friday's run are businessman Miguel del Gallego, his witness-daughter Maria Christina del Gallego-Borromeo and another witness Maharlika Schulze who just arrived from London. 

      Mrs. Larraņaga said Paco's family would be there too. "I will not run, but my son and husband will run," she said.

      She said she was happy that their fight to convince the Supreme Court to review its February 2, 2004 mmm

decision verdict imposing the death penalty on his son and five other persons "is gaining momentum."

      The other day her cousin former governor Emilio Lito Osmeņa added his voice to the free-Larraņaga campaign.

      "We are encouraged. Sometimes I admit I get frustrated but when people, like my cousin, come out and say those words I tell myself not to lose hope. We gain strength from people who believe in our cause," she said.

      After the run, father Reyes will hold a press conference.

      "For those who believe in our cause please join the run, Mrs. Larraņaga said.

      Dionisio Chiong, father of the victims, said the activity doesn't bother him. 

      "Pasagdi na sila (Let them be). We are confident that the Supreme Court will not reverse its decision," he said.

      He however commented that the action of Father Reyes "is improper."

      "We know that the church is against the death penalty but the verdict has been handed down," Chiong said.

      Sentenced to die by lethal injection along Paco were Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caņo, Ariel Balansag, and James Andrew Uy.

      Only James Anthony Uy, James Andrew's brother, was spared the death penalty because of minority. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. 


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