Thursday, February 17, 2005

      The case of Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga is no different from that of Hubert, son of former Senator and actor Freddie Webb, who was among the accused in the much-publicized Visconde massacre. The younger Webb claimed he was in the United States months before the massacre happened.

      Paco also used that alibi, claiming he was in Manila with some Cebuano friends when the Chiong sisters, Marijoy and Jacqueline, were abducted, raped and murdered. In fact, Paco's friends testified that it was impossible for him to be in Cebu at that time because he was with them in a restaurant in Metro Manila. 

      But as in the Visconde case wherein the court gave weight to the testimony of star witness Jessica Alfaro, the presiding judge in the Chiong case, Martin Ocampo, gave credence to the testimony of star witness Davidson "Tisoy Tagalog" Rusia.

      Ocampo convicted the seven persons accused of perpetuating the crime and the Supreme Court affirmed this with finality. In fact, the High Tribunal mmm

raised the penalty for six of  the seven  convicts  to death penalty. The other one escaped the punishment of lethal injection because he was still a minor when the crime was committed.

      Is Paco is innocent? I don't know. But who am I to question the decision of the court? Those convicted were given the opportunity to present evidences and were accosted fair and honest trial. Legal remedies were exhausted. Now, the families of the convicts, especially Paco, would claim they are innocent?  

      I can understand the feeling of the convicts' relatives, especially Paco's mother, Margarita.

      Kay bisan unsa pa ang usa ka anak, ang inahan magpabilin gyod sa iyang kiliran. Mao ni giingon nga inahan sa kanunay'ng panabang. 

      Also, I can understand the position of Mike del Gallego and former mayor Alvin Garcia who are also insisting that Paco is innocent. Del Gallego's daughter, Christina, and Garcia's son, Raymond, are firm with their stance that Paco was with them the night that the Chiong sisters were abducted. In fact, the elder del Gallego has made Paco's case a personal crusade.

      But if Paco's relatives, friends and sympathizers really believe he is innocent, then they should exhaust all legal remedies by presenting new evidences that would prod the justices to order the reopening of the case and possibly reverse the decision.

      Running as a form of protest, or holding rallies and seeking media attention can't reverse a legally decided case. These can't cow the Supreme Court. If they can, then deposed President Joseph Estrada's supporters might as well stage a series of protest actions to acquit their jailed leader. 

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