Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Death penalty is ‘justice served’

Thelma Chiong wants President to implement law

      Because she believes that imposing the death penalty on a convicted person is justice served, Thelma Chiong, as a mother and as vice president of a nationwide anti-crime group, yesterday wrote President Arroyo and spoke her mind.

      “What is justice?” she asked, when the President seems to view remedies imposed by criminal law from the point of view of the criminal and not the victims.

      President Arroyo announced last week her intent to commute all final and executory death sentences to life terms and save all death row convicts from capital punishment.

      Francisco “Paco” Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño and Ariel Balansag—five of the seven men convicted of the Chiong case—can avail themselves of the President’s new policy.

      “My daughters were kidnapped, handcuffed with masking tape, raped, and Marijoy thrown (down) a 150-meter ravine. Until now, my other daughter, Jackie, is still missing. What punishment does the seven drug-crazed men accused of killing my daughters deserve?” Chiong posed in the letter she also faxed to Sun.Star Cebu.

      She said the President should simply implement the law, instead of being swayed by lobby groups.

      Unlike the convicts, she pointed out, they didn’t have such lobby groups—composed of psychologists, religious organizations, even priests and nuns—when they filed the criminal complaint that subsequently led to the conviction of the accused.

      But as the CAV, which intends to schedule an audience with the chief executive, bemoan the President’s new policy, the Spanish Government is  .... 

                            
MOTHER'S LAMENT. She said the President should not let herself be swayed by lobby groups. Chiong lost her daughters Marijoy and Jackie, who were kidnapped and raped in July 1997. Marijoy was thrown down a ravine, while Jackie is still missing. Seven men were convicted of the crime, five of them sent to death row.

is heaping praises on the Arroyo administration.

In his report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) home office, Philippine Ambassador to Madrid Joseph Bernardo said that Spain expressed “its most sincere gratitude to the Philippine Government, particularly to President Arroyo,” for commuting the death penalty of Larrañaga.

      DFA records show that Larrañaga is also a citizen of Spain, on account of his father’s nationality.

The Bernardo report, quoting the Directorate General for External Communication of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, read: “The Government is pleased with the measure of commuting the death penalty by the President of the Philippines, which will benefit Francisco Javier Larrañaga Gonzales.”

      “The situation of Mr. Larrañaga has been the object of maximum attention on the part of different institutions of the Spanish State that have been all the time interested in his fate before the Philippine authorities; it will be recalled in this sense the messages issued by His Majesty the King and the President of the government, the interest of the Parliament, and the personal representations of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Minister of Defense and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,” it added.

      “The Spanish Government wishes to express its most sincere gratitude to the Government of the Philippines, in particular to its President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” it said. (KNR)

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
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