THE Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the appeal
for acquittal of one of seven men convicted in the kidnapping of the
Chiong sisters in Cebu City in 1997.
The full Court denied the motion
for reconsideration of Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, seeing no
merit in his motion to warrant the reversal of its earlier decision
affirming his conviction.
Larrañaga, Rowen Adlawan, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caño, Josman Aznar,
James Andrew Uy and James Anthony Uy were sentenced by the Cebu City
Regional Trial Court to double life for rape and murder of the Chiong
sisters. The Supreme Court raised the sentence to death.
The Court gave weight to the arguments of the Office of the Solicitor General to affirm Larrañaga’s conviction.
Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., a Cebuano, recused himself from the case.
Margarita Gonzalez Larrañaga, mother of Francisco Juan, insisted to the Court that her son did not rape and kill Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong on July 16, 1997.
Mrs. Larrañaga said that
despite the credible witnesses presented by the defense, the Cebu court
and the Supreme Court allowed her son to be placed on death row at the
National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
She said her son was taking his mid-term examinations at the Center for
Culinary Arts on Quezon Avenue at the time the Chiong sisters were killed
Government lawyers asked the Supreme Court to deny the motion for
reconsideration filed by Larrañaga and six other accused.
The state lawyers said the decision of Judge Martin Ocampo on May 5, 1999,
was impartial and had good and compelling bases to convict Larrañaga.
The Court said the argument that the bodies of the victims were never found is not a strong enough reason to acquit the accused. On the other hand, direct testimonies and circumstantial evidence provided a strong basis to convict them.
THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR CLEARER APPRECIATION.
HOME INDEX NEXT ISSUE