The Supreme Court in an en banc session recently affirmed the death
penalty on five out of seven in the celebrated eight-year-old
kidnap-rape-slay case involving sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong of
The decision in the case of James Anthony Uy was held in abeyance who claimed he was still 17 years old at the time of the incident, in July 1997. His brother James Andrew who was then 16 years of age was meted a 20-year prison term.
The ruling is particularly painful for Larraņaga because the eyewitness testimonies of several of his classmates in the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) along Katipunan Road, Loyola Heights, Quezon City - who said they had been carousing with him in a restaurant-bar in nearby Blue Ridge at the time of the crime - were not given any weight.
The court said Larraņaga, who belongs to the rich Osmeņa clan, could have very easily fled from Cebu City immediately after participating in the crime and joined his CCA classmates for their get-together, thus establishing his alibi, considering the fact that Manila is only one hour's flying time away and that there are several airline companies serving the Manila-Cebu route.
While the situation pertaining to Adlawan,
Aznar, Caņo and Balansag appears to be cut and dried, that. of Larranaga's is the still the
object of much debate, despite the ruling, due to the firmed belief that the legal dictum
"guilty beyond reasonable doubt" was never really satisfied with his relatives and lawyers condemning the rationale
used In sentencing him to death as mainly conjectural.
Recall the Visconde case and the hardluck Webbs?
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