Paco Larrañaga thankful for public support, says co-accused are innocent too
Imprisoned Spanish-Filipino Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga claimed his co-accused are innocent too.
Give Up Tomorrow/Facebook
Paco Larrañaga thankful for public support, says co-accused are innocent too
Rosette Adel ( - July 25, 2018 - 7:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — After the outpour of online support for imprisoned Spanish-Filipino Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, he expressed gratitude to the public and made an appeal.

Larrañaga was one of the seven men dubbed as the “Chiong Seven” who were imprisoned for the alleged kidnapping and rape of the Chiong Sisters, Marijoy and Jacqueline in Cebu City in 1997. Marijoy was allegedly murdered.

The six other accused are Jozman Aznar, Rowen Wesley Adlawan, Alberto Allan "Pahak" Cano, Ariel Balansag, James Andrew "MM" Uy and James Anthony Uy.

Most of the accused, including Larrañaga were from prominent families. Larrañaga happens to be the great-grandson of Sergio Osmeña Sr.

The Chiong Seven’s case resurfaced after Viva Films released a film titled “Jacqueline Comes Home” which is based on the true-to-life tragic story of the Chiong sisters.

This prompted calls to boycott the film as a documentary released in 2011 titled “Give Up Tomorrow” previously aired the side of Larrañaga where he was defended by his witnesses to not be in Cebu City during the time of the supposed kidnapping. The documentary got the public’s sympathy and most of those who watched claimed Larrañaga was innocent.

Due to this, an online petition was launched calling on President Rodrigo Duterte and the Supreme Court to review the case of the Chiong Seven who remained to be imprisoned now. The six accused are at the New Bilibid Prison while Larrañaga gets to work by day and is still jailed in Spain by night time.

READ: Online petition urges Duterte, SC to reopen ‘Chiong sisters’ case

Through a lengthy social media post at Give Up Tomorrow’s Facebook page, Larrañaga extended his gratitude to his supporters.

“Hello Everybody! This is Paco. I wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you who have sent me messages of support, encouragement and prayers. Thank you for taking the time to learn about the human rights abuses and the facts of our case,” Larrañaga wrote.

“This is very important to me because maybe by knowing what happened to us it will prevent more innocent people from falling through the cracks of the justice system. Thank you for being my voice when I cannot speak out in our fight for justice. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude. Reading your messages puts a smile in my heart,” he added.

'My co-accused are innocent too'

Larrañaga also appealed to the public to please hear his six co-acussed's stories too, claiming that they too are innocent.

“I also wanted to tell you that I am not the only one who is innocent. My 6 co-accused are just as innocent as I am,” Larrañaga said.

The half Spanish citizen said he is fortunate that Spain’s prison system is “humane and rehabilitative” that they allowed him to complete his culinary school and work but he still thinks of his co-accused.

“But not a day goes by that I do not think about James Andrew, James Anthony, Alberto, Ariel, Josman and Rowen and feel a pain in my soul because they do not deserve to be in Bilibid any more than I do,” Larrañaga said.

“They are victims of injustice just like me. If you can, please hear their stories too,” he added.

Larrañaga shared that those who reached out to him made his burden lighter. He added hashtag #FreeCebu7 in his post.

According to reports, only a pardon from the president would give the Chiong Seven their freedom.

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