Tuesday, November 15, 2005  

HOPE FOR PACO PACO
Ex-cop says 3 of Chiong 7 accused were innocent  
       ·       But case already decided by Supreme Court and chance of it being reopened is slim
     ·       Wife of Roy Codiñera tells public not to believe her husband and Thelma Chiong calls it a “desperate move to earn money”  
     ·       Paco’s mother Margarita Larrañaga sees Codiñera statement as “another ray hope for them”

      Retired policeman Roy Codiñera came out yesterday with a twist to the Chiong case.  

      He said main witness Davidson “Tisoy Tagalog” Rusia only made up his testimony linking Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga and brothers James Andrew and James Anthony Uy to the kidnapping, rape and killing of sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong. 

      However, Crusade Against Violence national vice president for the Visayas Thelma Chiong considers Codiñera’s revelation a  “desperate move to earn money.”  

      If they had they known that Codiñera will do this to them, Chiong, the mother of the two girls, said they would not have recommended him for promotion and named one of the country’s best policeman in 2000.  

      Margarita Larrañaga, mother of Paco, on the other hand, hopes Codiñera’s statement will be a “ray of hope” for them.  

      “We were doubtful about the investigation. We knew that this is a case of frame-up. Paco was not in Cebu City at the time of the incident because he was in Quezon City with his friends,” Margarita told Sun.Star Cebu.  

      She also said they have not seen Codiñera for quite some time.

      “I am always hoping that the truth will prevail. I am also praying that Davidson Rusia will be stricken by his conscience and clear my son and the other accused,” Margarita said.

      Codiñera sent a letter to Sun.Star Cebu reporter Minerva B. Gerodias last week saying: “I will testify in favor of Paco Larrañaga in their appeal, being the lead operation in the Chiong rape and murder case. If a priest is here to save a sinner, then I am here to save a youngster from the death penalty.”

But Codiñera’s wife, Nancy, asked people not to believe her husband. “Nabuang na gyud bitaw na siya, di na siya angayang tuhu-an (He’s crazy. Nobody should take his word),” she said.

      Codiñera, then a member of the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Bureau, said in a mm

                          
                   CODIÑERA. Too late? But mother
                   of accused has not lost hope.
                                                         
(SUN.STAR FILE)

radio dyLA interview that he was the one who prepared Rusia’s affidavit, but when the Criminal Intelligence and Detection Group took over the case, he was surprised that Larrañaga and the Uy brothers were named as suspects.

      He said he was never given the chance to testify during the trial that ended in May 1999.  

      Then RTC Judge Martin Ocampo declared all seven accused guilty.

      Jacqueline, 21, and Marijoy, 19, were last seen alive outside Ayala Center last July 16, 1997. Witnesses had said some men have grabbed them and put them in a van.  

      Last July, the Supreme Court en banc affirmed their earlier ruling imposing the maximum penalty of death on Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño and Ariel Balansag.

      The High Court deferred the ruling on James Anthony pending the verification of his age. His younger brother, James Anthony, was sentenced to life imprisonment after the court found out that he was still a minor at the time of the crime.
 

      Defense lawyer Eric Carin said they could file a pleading and ask the court to invoke its equity jurisdiction.  

      The Equity Jurisdiction principle allows the High Court to reopen cases it had already decided if new evidence is presented.

      “The testimony (of Codiñera) can affect the final outcome of our case. He was the lead investigator and it was he who arrested my clients. His testimony will support what we have been saying all along—that my client never had any participation in the alleged crime,” said Carin, who represents the Uy brothers.

      Thelma Chiong, however, dismissed Codiñera’s “last-minute heroic act” as having no legal bearing since two other police agencies investigated the crime.
 

“It would not matter much anymore because the case has already become final and executory. In fact, I am already preparing to file a motion for the execution of judgment,” Chiong said. (AIV/GN/KNR)

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