Monday, November 21, 2005  

Philippine's president to try and save condemed Spanish man

      The president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal, promised Defense minister José Bono today that she will do everything in her power to save the life of the young Hispano-Philippine, Paco Larrañaga, who has been condemned to death. "She has promised me that, while she is president, the execution will not take place, and secondly, that she will do everything she can to try and help him," explained Mr. Bono at a press conference following this morning's meeting at the Malacañang Palace. The minister phoned the condemned man's parents from Ms Arroyo's office to break the news, which Mr Bono described as "highly satisfactory."

      There was an important development in the case just last week when a former policeman closely involved in the investigation, Roy Codiñera, admitted to the Cebu Daily News that Larrañaga and two others were innocent. Mr. Codiñera explained that the prosecution team's main witness, Davidson Rusia, who testified against all the accused in mmmmm

               
                 The president of the Philippines, Gloria 
                 Macapagal  with  Spanish  Defense  Mi-
                 nister
José Bono.

exchange for his own freedom, had lied about the participation of Larrañaga and two others.     

      Larrañaga, who is the son of the former pelota Basque star, Francisco Larrañaga, and Margarita González, who is from the Philippines, was condemned to death along with five others for the kidnapping, rape and murder of two sisters in Cebu in 1997. Spanish and European institutions have been exerting increasing pressure on the 
Philippine government over the last few months to pardon Larrañaga, and his defense team claims that there were a number of serious irregularities in the trial. However, the Philippines Supreme Tribunal overturned a final appeal in July, which means that, under the terms of the Philippines Constitution, his only remaining option would be a presidential pardon.

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