Saturday, May 27, 2006

Reprieve from death sentence
Papers for Chiong 5 readied

* Mrs. Thelma Chiong, mother of two daughters who were abducted, raped and killed, says she had called off meeting with Glo during her Cebu visit last week      

     AS Thelma Chiong lamented a missed opportunity to meet with President Arroyo, a member of the Arroyo cabinet set in motion a possible break for five men convicted of the kidnapping and death of Chiong's two daughters.

      Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales has recommended that President Arroyo order the commutation of the death sentences of five convicts in the Chiong case: Juan Francisco Larraņaga, Rowen Adlawan, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caņo, and Josman Aznar. 

      They had been sent to death row for the kidnapping, serious illegal detention and rape of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong nine years ago. Although one body was found, the other sister is also presumed dead. 

      Two other convicts, the brothers James Anthony and James Andrew Uy, were spared the death penalty because they were minors when the crime was committed in July 1997.

      Last May 5, Chiong confirmed to Sun*Star Cebu that she was scheduled to meet with President Arroyo this month, during the President's visit to Cebu. Since the loss of her daughters, Chiong has been an active participant in the national Crusade Against Violence.

                                 No meeting
      But when President Arroyo did visit Cebu last Tuesday, the meeting never took place. She only had time for an affair of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and, before that, the episcopal ordination of Msgr. Francisco Padilla, the new papal nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

      Chiong said she would have wanted to let Arroyo know about her sentiments on the possibility of commutation.
      Without expecting the President to change her mind, Chiong said she just wanted to let Arroyo know of her disappointment.

      "If this is the case, we should set aside our justice system since
gibalewala naman ang ilang role (their role has been completely disregarded) ... Let us abolish the Supreme Court," Chiong said.

      "If she is really sincere, then she would meet with me," Chiong said, adding that she is still willing to have the dialogue. JGA

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