Wednesday, March 11, 2005 
Supreme Court denies.... motion to accept briefs.. by three Spanish Bar...... councils 
Reporter Suzanne B. Salva 

      THE SUPREME Court has junked the manifestation and motion of the lawyers of Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga for the high court to accept the briefs of three Spanish bar councils.

      In a resolution dated January 25, the SC en banc "noted and denied" the manifestation filed on January 11.

      No reason was given by the Court in denying to hear the briefs of the Madrid, Barcelona Bar and Basque bar councils in support of a request for oral arguments filed by Larraņaga's lawyer.

      Paco's mother, Margarita told Cebu Daily News that while she felt sad, disheartened and scared, she would not give up her fight to set her son free.

      She maintained Paco did not commit the crime he was convicted for.

      "In view of the fact that Paco is also Spanish, they (lawyers' groups) have taken interest in the case. They are not meddling in the case but giving opinion on the kind of trial Paco had in the lower courts," she said.

      She admitted that the briefs from the Spanish bar councils could have opened the eyes of the justices over what she claimed were errors committed during mmm

MARGARITA, and her son on death row, Paco. 
                                                                                        file photo

the trial by the late judge Martin Ocampo.

     "They were concerned over what's going to happen to a citizen of Spain who was not given a fair trial," she said.

      Last February 3, 2004, the high court not only affirmed Ocampo's conviction of Paco and his friends, but elevated the penalty from life to death.

      Prayer, Margarita said, was what she has left, to even have a tiny glimpse of possibility that her son's case would be overturned.

      "I wanted to think positive because I know God is with us, he knows that Paco is innocent, I still believe in miracle and I am waiting for a miracle," she said.

      Aside from the lawyers' group, The Fair Trials Abroad Trust, a non-government organization based in London, had also asked the SC to quash the conviction and the death sentence it gave Larraņaga.

      The group said the judgment of the SC "violated the international fair trial standards."

      Larraņaga was one of the seven young men convicted of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention of sisters Jacqueline Chiong, 23 and Marijoy, 20, in Cebu City in 1997.

      Aside from Larraņaga, Jozman Aznar, a scion of the wealthy Aznar family here in Cebu, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caņo, Rowen Adlawan and brothers James Anthony and James Andrew Uy also were also convicted.

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