Chiong sisters remembered

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Friday, July 18, 2014


“I MISS them very much,” said Thelma Chiong of her daughters Marijoy and Jacqueline who were abducted and killed in 1997.

It has been 17 years since the tragic crime against the Chiong sisters, but Thelma said she still cries whenever she remembers her daughters.

“They (Marijoy and Jacqueline) were with me for about 20 years,” Thelma told Sun.Star Cebu, her voice cracking with emotion.

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The Chiong family marked the 17th death anniversary of Marijoy and Jacqueline last Thursday by offering a mass and visiting the tomb of Marijoy.

Marijoy and Jacqueline were 19 and 21, respectively, when they disappeared outside Ayala Center Cebu last July 16, 1997.

Two days later, Marijoy was found dead at the bottom of a ravine in Sitio Tan-awan, Barangay Guadalupe, Carcar City, Cebu. Jacqueline remains missing.

Police arrested and charged Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Caño, Ariel Balansag and brothers James Andrew and James Anthony Uy with double murder.

On May 5, 1999, the late Cebu Regional Trial Court judge Martin Ocampo convicted Larrañaga and six co-accused of kidnapping and illegal detention.

Instead of death, Ocampo sentenced them to two life terms.

The Supreme Court upheld the ruling of Ocampo and imposed the death penalty on convicts Larrañaga, Aznar, Adlawan, Caño and Balansag on Feb. 3, 2004.

During his arrest, Larrañaga was then 19 years old and was taking up culinary arts at a school in Quezon City.

Now 35, Larrañaga is still incarcerated in a penal facility in Spain after the Department of Justice approved his transfer there to serve the remainder of his life sentence.

The Prison Review Board in Spain vowed to recommend Paco’s pardon.

Thelma, in an interview, believes that justice has been served to her daughters.

No matter what Larrañaga would do, Thelma said he cannot reverse his conviction handed down by the High Court.

“They cannot touch it (court ruling),” she said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 19, 2014.

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