Sunday, February 22, 2004  

  OPINION
 
   
      

EDITORIAL

Maybe God had spoken. after all

      We doff our hat to businessman Miguel Juan del Gallego for sacrificing a prestigious position to concentrate on a personal conviction that Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga is innocent. 

      Paco is one of six men sentenced by the Supreme Court to die by lethal injection in connection with the rape and murder of the Chiong sisters. A seventh young man got the life sentence.

      Unfortunately for Mr. Gallego, the Supreme Court has spoken, and in a society governed by mmmmmm

laws, not all the personal convictions in the world can overturn  court-accepted evidence.

      Of course it may be argued that all the evidence in the world cannot prove anything with absolute certainty, precisely while all court rulings are qualified by mere proof beyond reasonable doubt. 

      In the Chiong case, as with any other case, only the principal actors can tell the truth with absolute certainty, plus of course God, if He is willing to talk.

      But God is not talking. Or if He did, maybe all of us either did not pay attention or did not recognize His voice. The Chiong sisters are not talking either. They are dead.

      That leaves us only Paco and the other six. But Paco cannot be expected to do anything except to protest his innocence, which prudence and logic dictate, must be taken with a grain of salt.

      It is the same with the other six. They also claim to be innocent, which is of course expected given the fact that their lives are on the line.

      But the Chiong sisters did not rape and kill themselves. Somebody raped and killed them and must pay. Fortunately for all of us, justice does not pluck suspects to convict out of thin air.

      All suspects undergo trial where everyone who has anything to say or evidence to present is given the opportunity to do so. The trial is over and the verdict is that all seven are guilty.

      So what do we do now, go back to perceptions? Mr. Gallego may have his, but so do far more others with contrary views. That is why it had been, and always will be, necessary to have a trial.

      Paco is rich. So are some of the other convicts. It cannot be said that they neither had the means or the opportunity to mount the best defense money can buy. Maybe God had spoken after all.

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
                                  DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR  CLEARER APPRECIATION.                                        

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