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‘Miscarriage of justice’ in Chiong rape-slay case?

() - November 18, 2005 - 12:00am
CEBU — "There was a miscarriage of justice."

Thus said assistant regional state prosecutor Vicente Mañalac over the handling of the celebrated rape-slay case of the Chiong sisters.

In a press statement, Mañalac said "it looks like an influence peddler" was behind all this, and that the three convicts — Francisco Juan "Paco" Larrañaga and brothers James Andrew and James Anthony Uy — should be "given another chance to obtain their liberty."

Mañalac said the prosecutors in that case should "be sanctioned for possible betrayal of trust."

He said retired police investigator Roy Codiñera and former National Bureau of Investigation-Region 7 director Florencio Villarin "were not called to testify in court (about) what they knew."

The Chiong sisters, Jacqueline, 21, and Marijoy, 19, were last seen alive outside an uptown mall on July 16, 1997.

Later, the remains of Marijoy were found at the bottom of a cliff in Carcar town. Jacqueline was never found.

Seven suspects were subsequently arrested. Their trial ended in May 1999 when Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo declared all of them guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder.

Last July, the Supreme Court en banc affirmed its earlier ruling imposing the maximum penalty of death on Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño, and Ariel Balansag.

James Andrew’s fate was deferred pending the verification of his age at the time the crime was committed, while James Anthony was sentenced to life imprisonment since he was still a minor at the time.

Codiñera lately created a stir when he surfaced and told the media that Larrañaga and the Uy brothers were innocent.

He was among those who arrested the accused, but said that he was never presented as a witness in the trial.

Codiñera, a former member of the Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Branch, told reporters that primary witness Davidson "Tisoy Tagalog" Rusia only made up his testimony linking the three to the crime. — Freeman News Service

ALBERTO CA ARIEL BALANSAG CHIONG CODI CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE AND INVESTIGATION BRANCH FLORENCIO VILLARIN FRANCISCO JUAN FREEMAN NEWS SERVICE LARRA NTILDE
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