pardon, no parole, no way...
But Thelma Chiong,
national vice president of the Crusade Against Violence (CAV), said she
was not surprised. She said that she had known the President's position on
the death penalty for a year now, and that she respected this stance.
Thelma said she twice
asked Ms Arroyo about capital punishment during the latter's visits to
According to Thelma,
she could accept albeit with a heavy heart the fact that the death
sentences of Paco Larraņaga et al. would be commuted.
But she said she would
not take sitting down the possibility that all death convicts, including
"the killers of my two daughters," would be pardoned or paroled.
"I can agree to life in prison provided there is no way they
can get out of jail; no pardon, no parole," she said.
Pressure from EU
Thelma said she believed that the President's
decision was also shaped by pressure from the European Union, which is campaigning against the Death Penalty Law.
She lamented that the
President did not conduct consultations on the matter before announcing
the commutation of all death sentences.
Thelma said that even
if Congress decided to abolish the death penalty, she and the CAV would
continue to lobby for it.
She said her group
wanted capital punishment for persons who had committed heinous crimes
like rape and murder.
Those who raped and killed her daughters deserved the death penalty, she said.
Audience with Arroyo
welcomed the news about the President's decision.
But his mother,
Margarita Larraņaga, said the family still wanted the President to grant
him an absolute pardon or executive clemency.
She said their next
move would be to try to have an audience with Ms Arroyo.
Margarita said the
family sent a letter to Ms Arroyo in February, through the Office of the
Presidential Assistance for
"The President has the prerogative to grant executive clemency or absolute pardon. We are hoping that perhaps she might listen to the witnesses that the court did not listen to... But there's no feedback [from the Palace] yet," the mother said.
THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR CLEARER APPRECIATION.
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