Wednesday, November 16, 2005  

Fiscal Maņalac.... believes................ "miscarriage of... justice"

      "There was miscarriage of justice", said assistant regional state prosecutor Vicente Maņalac over the handling of the celebrated Chiong sisters rape-slay case. 

      In a press statement, Maņalac said, "It looks like an influence peddler" was behind all this, and that the three convicts, Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga and brothers James Andrew and James Anthony, should be "given back another chance to obtain their liberty."

      Maņalac said the prosecutors in that case should "be sanctioned for possible betrayal of trust" as he also cited retired police investigator and former National Bureau of Investigtion-7 regional director Florencio Villarin who "were not called to testify in court of what they knew."

      The Chiong sisters, Jacqueline, 21, and Marijoy, 19, were last seen alive outside an uptown mall on July 16, 1997. They disappeared since then and later a corpse was found down a cliff Carcar town that was eventually identified as that of Marijoy. Jacqueline was never found.

      Seven suspects were subsequently arrested. Then the trial of the celebrated case ended on May 1999 when Regional Trial Court judge Martin Ocampo declared all of the accused guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder.
      Last July, the Supreme Court en banc affirmed its earlier ruling imposing the maximum penalty of death on Larraņaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caņo, and Ariel Balansag. James Andrew's fate was deferred pending the verification of his age at the time of the crime was committed while James Anthony was sentenced to life imprisonment since he was still a minor at that time.

      Codiņera lately created a stir when he suddenly came out telling the media that Larraņaga and the Uy brothers were innocent. He was among those who arrested the suspects but said he was never presented as witness in the trial.

      Codiņera, an ex-member of the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Branch, told reporters that primary witness Davidson "Tisoy Tagalog" Rusia only made up his testimony linking the three to the crime. 

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