Sunday, April 10, 2005  

Spanish lawmakers...... urge gov't to spare....... rapist on death row
Posted 07:34pm (Mla time) April 08, 2005
Agence France-Presse

      A DELEGATION of legislators from Spain urged Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Friday to spare the life of Paco Larranaga, scion of a Spanish-Filipino clan sentenced to death for the rape and murder of two young women.

      The eight parliamentarians from a cross-section of Spain's political parties said they met with Filipino Senate President Franklin Drilon to deliver their request on the sidelines of an international conference on parliamentarians, which ended here Friday.

      The Supreme Court last year upheld the death sentence meted by a lower court on Larranaga and six other co-defendants for the kidnapping and murder of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong on the central island of Cebu in 1997.

      "We come from different political groups with different  ideologies  and  we have disagreements mmm

on many things, but we are in complete agreement on this issue," Juan Moscoso del Prado Hernandez of Spain's ruling Socialist Party told a news conference. "We are sure that Paco is innocent.

      "The group said they submitted to Drilon and House Speaker Jose de Venecia documents provided by the Larranaga family that they insisted would prove the convict's innocence.

       They said certain "factual and procedural elements" during the trial "may have undermined his (Larranaga's) legal guarantees and that casts doubts on the elements of his guilt," according to the legislators' letter to the two Filipino congressional leaders.

      Arroyo, in Rome to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, has suspended judicial executions since coming to power in 2001 despite popular pressure for the reinstatement of capital punishment.

      In January, lawyers' groups from Barcelona, Madrid, and Spain's Basque region asked the Filipino Supreme Court to allow them to intervene in the Larranaga case.

      The three groups said they believed Larranaga was a "Spanish citizen with origins in the Basque country and therefore a member of the European Union," whose members have abolished capital punishment.

      The Philippines is a former Spanish colony.

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