THE wounds of the past continue to haunt Thelma Chiong 21 years after her two young daughters were kidnapped, raped, and murdered.
The mother of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong said that while the trial of her daughters’ murder was finally concluded when the court upheld the conviction of Francisco “Paco” Larrañaga and the other suspects 14 years ago, some still refuse to believe they were victims of a gruesome crime.
With the premier of the movie “Jacqueline Comes Home” on Wednesday, July 18, the public, particularly netizens, have revived discussion on the celebrated murder case by showing the documentary “Give up Tomorrow,” which tells Larrañaga’s side of the story.
Thelma said that when film director Carlo J. Caparas first approached her to get her permission to make a film about her daughters, she didn’t give her blessing as she feared they would relive the painful experience again.
She eventually relented after some netizens spread rumors that her daughter Jacqueline is still alive. And the rumors just keep spreading.
Thelma said she was upset by social media comments regarding the case, including reactions to claims made by the Larrañaga camp that her husband, Dionisio, was allegedly involved in illegal drugs.
She believes the documentary produced by Marty Syjuco, who identified himself as a relative of Larrañaga by marriage, was meant to create confusion among those who are not familiar with the celebrated case.
"Many netizens who support the notion that there was a mistrial were born before the Chiong case started or were too young. I am saddened by this because it not only opens wounds on my part, but also on my family who has suffered so much since this case started," Chiong said in Cebuano.
Chiong hopes the movie will clarify the rumors and false reports.
She believes the rumors, reinforced by social media, were peddled by Larrañaga's camp, who she claimed continue to use their resources and influence to create confusion on the case.
Chiong said she and her family are planning to offer a mass at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for the 21st death anniversary of her daughters tomorrow.
A simple family gathering will be prepared by the family after the mass, she said. (Justin K. Vestil)