Chiongs move on but remember daughters’ deaths

Posted on November 2, 2012



FIFTEEN years after the kidnapping and murder of her two daughters, 59-year-old Thelma Chiong said she has moved on.

“I have accepted what happened. In doing so, I find peace of mind,” she told Cebu Daily News.

Thelma and her husband Dionisio yesterday made the annual visit to the remains of her daughter Marijoy for All Saints’ Day at the Alliance of Two Hearts columbary in Cebu City.

The body of daughter Jacqueline was never found but the family decided to put the names and photographs of both siblings on the tombstone.

“We consider her (Jacqueline) dead. It’s been 15 years already. If we keep on looking for her, we could not move on,” Thelma said.

The family placed yellow and white flowers on the tomb, lit candles and offered Mass.

Marijoy’s remains were cremated before they were transferred from the Queen City Memorial Garden to the columbary October last year.

The mother said they would want to see Jacqueline’s remains but the family has been unsuccessful.

“She appeared in a dream and told me to put her name on the tombstone. She said she’s dead,” said the mother.

Thelma said Fransciso “Paco” Larrañaga, one of seven men convicted for the kidnapping, rape and murders of the Chiong sisters, should have told them where Jacqueline’s remains can be found.

Larrañaga, the subject of an award-winning documentary “Give Up Tomorrow” that was shown in Cebu City recently, is serving a life sentence in a Spanish prison where he was transferred by virtue of a treaty that recognized his Spanish citizenship as the son of a Basque resident.

Thelma said she has forgiven the persons who killed her daughters but has not forgotten the pain their disappearance still causes.

Thelma said the documentary which showed Larrañaga as innocent of the crime, was a lie.

Thelma said the film promoted the rumor that Jacqueline could be alive and living abroad.

“If she is abroad, why doesn’t she send money to us?” Thelma quipped.

Marijoy and Jacqueline were kidnapped on the evening of July 16, 1997 as they waited for a ride outside Ayala Center Cebu.

Marijoy’s handcuffed body was found in a ravine in Carcar City two days after.

Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Cano, Ariel Balansag and brothers James Anthony and James Andrew Uy, were convicted of the crimes in 1999. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter

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