Sunday, February 13, 2005 
                 
Larraņaga wants to......... meet with Chiong
by Jhunnex Napallacan
     
Correspondent

      IS A meeting between Margarita Larraņaga and Thelma Chiong possible?

      In an interview yesterday, Larraņaga hinted that she was open to the idea of meeting Chiong to discuss a possible joining of forces in seeking "truth and justice" for her son Paco. 

     Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga is currently in death row at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City for allegedly kidnapping, raping and killing sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong in 1997.  

      Larraņaga said she had even broached the idea of meeting Chiong in front of Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal to her friends. 

     She expresses doubts, however, that Chiong would agree to the meeting considering "the fact that her mind was already closed to the idea."

     Larraņaga said that as mothers, she and Chiong should unite in seeking the truth. 

     She stood pat on her conviction that Paco and the rest of the "Chiong 7" were innocent of the charges. 

     "My son was engaged in brawls before. But he is, and never was, a rapist," Larraņaga told dyLA yesterday morning. 

     In an earlier interview, Chiong belittled the move of Paco's supporters, saying even if Fr. Robert Reyes ran across the Philippines it would not change her mind. 

      Larraņaga appealed to Chiong, asking her to "have an open mind and listen to them, especially to the mmm

                 
MOTHERS. Margarita Larraņaga (left). Thelma Chiong (above). 

statements of seven young boys and girls who had claimed that Paco was with them in Manila when the crime occurred."

      She admitted to being hurt when Chiong called her a liar over the radio, saying it was the latter who had been lying. 

     Larraņaga cited Chiong's sworn testimony that Paco had courted Marijoy. 

     "I know for a fact that Paco did not court her (Chiong) daughter," she said. 

      Like Larraņaga, Chiong was also steadfast in her beliefs, saying the Supreme Court had already affirmed the ruling on the Chiong 7 and even upgraded the sentence from life imprisonment to death for six of the seven accused. 

      The other day, Fr. Reyes led the families, friends and supporters of the seven convicts in running through Cebu City's major thoroughfares to drum up support for a retrial of the Chiong case. 

     Fr. Reyes had told reporters that he was convinced Paco and the other accused were innocent. 

     "There must be a retrial," he had told reporters after the two-hour run from Ayala Business Park to the Capitol, also joined by 40 to 50 people. 

     Chiong also lashed out against Fr. Reyes for claiming her two daughters could be alive. 

     She said the running priest was misinformed, describing his conduct as "unbecoming for a man of God."

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
                           DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR  CLEARER APPRECIATION.                                 

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