Chiong opposes prison pact between Spain, RP

() - November 18, 2007 - 12:00am

Thelma Chiong, whose two daughters were abducted, raped and killed 10 years ago, is strongly lobbying for the rejection of the treaty that would allow for the exchange of sentenced prisoners between the Philippines and Spain.

Chiong told dyLA that she is against for the transfer of Francisco Juan Paco Larranaga, a citizen of Spain and one of those seven persons convicted in the rape and murder of her daughters Marijoy and Jacqueline in 1997, to Spain once the Senate ratifies the treaty.

She, however, did not say whether she has plans to ask the senators to reject the proposed treaty on Monday. The treaty was sponsored Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Once the treaty is approved, Filipino prisoners who are serving their final sentence in Spain can ask for repatriation to the Philippines. It is also available to Spanish prisoners in the country who wanted to continue their sentences in Spain.

Larrañaga’s mother Margarita said she would be happy if the treaty will help her son, but could not say whether her family is planning for his transfer to Spain once it is approved.

The conviction of Larrañaga is not yet final since he has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court. This means that even if the Senate will approve the treaty, he could not be transferred to Spain pending the outcome of his appeal.

Santiago said Chiong may register her objection to Larrañaga’s transfer.

Larrañaga and six other people, some of whom are scions of prominent Cebuano families, were sentenced to double life imprisonment by Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo on May 5, 1999.

The Supreme Court affirmed Ocampo’s decision finding six of them guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, with homicide and rape of Marijoy.

The sisters were waiting for a ride in front of Ayala Mall along Archbishop Reyes Avenue when Larrañaga’s group abducted them and brought them to Carcar, where Marijoy’s body was recovered days later. Jacqueline is still missing.

Aside from affirming Ocampo’s decision, the Supreme Court also raised the penalty from double life terms of 20 to 40 years in prison to death on six of them, and 32 to 57 years on the seventh accused.

Those who were meted with death were Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño, Ariel Balansag and James Anthony Uy.

James Andrew Uy, who was only 16 during the time of the crime, was penalized only with double life sentence.

But Larrañaga and the five others were spared from death after the government abolished the death penalty. — Rene U. Borromeo/LPM

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