A justice-run will be initiated Tuesday while a “special” premiere screening of the documentary-film is being pushed by supporters of seven people convicted in Cebu’s highly celebrated rape-murder case of the Chiong sisters in 1997.
Businessman Miguel del Gallego, a supporter of convicted Spanish-Filipino Fransisco “Paco” Larrañaga, said running-priest Fr. Robert Reyes will be joining them as they run from Casino Espanyol in V. Ranudo Street to the Sacred Heart Church in D. Jakosalem in what they call as a continued call for justice for the convicted murderers.
“It will not be just a run for Paco but for all of the accused whom we believed to be innocent,” said del Gallego in a telephone interview Sunday night.
Del Gallego however said he is not joining the run and would just wait in the Sacred Heart church due to health constraints.
Yesterday was the last screening of the multi-awarded documentary-film “Give Up Tomorrow” at the Cinemalaya festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
Del Gallego said their group is arranging a special premier screening of the film here in Cebu. “It will just be by invitation. We will watch it together with friends and supporters (and not for public). We are not making money out of it,” he explained.
On May 5, 1999, Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo found seven young men guilty of kidnapping sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong on July 16, 1997 in Cebu City.
Ocampo meted the death sentence on Larrañaga, great-grandson of the late president Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Josman Aznar, whose family owns several businesses in Cebu like Southwestern University, Sacred Heart Hospital, and Alta Vista Gold and Country Club.
Also meted the same sentence were Rowen Adlawan, brothers James Andrew and James Anthony Uy, van driver Alberto Caño and conductor Ariel Balansag.
Last 2006, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo commuted all death sentences to life terms, thereby saving the six convicts from lethal injection. Paco is currently serving his jail time in Madrid.
He was transferred there to finish his sentence based on the Treaty on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the the Philippines and Spain ratified by the Philippine Senate in November 2007.
The Department of Justice approved Paco’s transfer in 2009.
In August 1998, suspect-turned-state witness Davidson Valiente Rusia recounted the abduction and consequent rape of the Chiong sisters.
He said he was present in most of the episodes of the crimes, and pointed to Aznar and Adlawan as the ones who seized Jacqueline, 22, and Marijoy, 20, while the sisters were waiting for a ride home at Ayala Center Cebu.
Directed by New York-based Michael Collins, “Give Up Tomorrow” talks about the life of Larranaga and the Justice system here in the Philippines.
Marty Syjuco, who was originally from the Philippines, teamed up with Collins to create the documentary that earned at least 13 international awards around the world including those in Spain, United States, Australia, and Germany.
In its review, Sundance Film Institute said: “In a genre of film so swamped with tales of injustice and corruption, the documenting of yet another enduring soul could feel almost stale-but it doesn’t.” /Dale G. Israel, Senior Reporter