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Convict's transfer can only be stopped by courts

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MANILA, Philippines - Convict Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga’s transfer to a prison in Spain could only be stopped by the courts, the government said yesterday.

Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera said yesterday her office is just awaiting the go-signal from the Spanish government to carry out the transfer of Larrañaga, one of the convicted rapists and murderers of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong, under the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement with Spain.

“Based on our experience, courts give high respect to treaties forged by the government with another government,” she said.

Devanadera said court intervention on Larrañaga’s transfer would be completely dependent on the judge.

“All conditions under the treaty are already met,” she said.

“We are just waiting for official communication from the Spanish government – if they are ready to accept Larrañaga since they will answer all expenses for the transfer including airfare.”

Earlier, Thelma Chiong, mother of the victims, said she would question Larrañaga’s transfer before a court in Cebu.

“How could he qualify for the transfer? How was he able to get the Spanish citizenship while behind bars in the last 12 years?” she said.

Chiong said she would ask the court if Larrañaga could qualify for the prisoner-exchange under the treaty as he is not Spanish by birth.

Larrañaga’s birth certificate shows that he is a Filipino citizen, she added.

It was beyond Devanadera’s authority to approve Larrañaga’s transfer since only the President or the Senate president can order it under the treaty, Chiong said. – Edu Punay

AGA

CHIONG

CONVICT FRANCISCO JUAN

DEVANADERA

EDU PUNAY

JUSTICE SECRETARY AGNES DEVANADERA

LARRA

MARIJOY AND JACQUELINE CHIONG

NTILDE

THELMA CHIONG

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