Francisco “Paco” Larrañaga’s family is open to the idea of asking for executive clemency from President Rodrigo Duterte, saying it could help expedite his release from jail in Spain.
But Thelma Chiong said in an interview last Wednesday that it is “impossible” for Larrañaga’s family to secure a pardon from Duterte considering the President’s “anti-crime” stance.
In an interview over radio dyLA, Larrañaga’s mother, Margarita, admitted that with the President’s clemency, Paco can be released from jail sooner.
Executive clemency is a power of the President to commute sentences in criminal cases.
Chiong said the Larrañaga family had sought executive clemency from the administrations of former presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III but to no avail.
Though Larrañaga never received executive clemency during Aquino’s term, it was during the term of former president Arroyo that the 41-year-old convicted murderer was given the approval to be transferred to Spain.
It was also during Arroyo’s time that capital punishment was repealed, which spared Larrañaga and the rest of the Chiong Seven from death row.
Margarita maintained that her son has nothing to do with the disappearance of Marijoy, 19, and Jacqueline, 21, who were reportedly kidnapped outside Ayala Center Cebu on July 16, 1997.
The Chiong family commemorated the 21st death anniversary of Marijoy and Jacqueline on Tuesday, July 16.
They also attended the premiere of “Jacqueline Comes Home” (The Chiong Story) at SM Cebu City Cinema 1.
Prior to the Chiong sisters’ film, Larrañaga’s relatives and friends also produced a documentary titled “Give Up Tomorrow.”
In the film, Larrañaga, great grandson of the late President Sergio Osmeña, shared his frustration after he was not given the opportunity by the court to take the witness stand to air his side of the story.
He said he was illegally arrested and portrayed as a leader of the gang.
Although still in detention, he had a chance to work as a chef in a restaurant in Spain, earning about 1,000 euros per month.
Margarita said their family continues to search for justice because they believe that Larrañaga is innocent.
On May 5, 1999, the court convicted Larrañaga and his six co-accused of kidnapping and illegal detention.
The Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling and imposed the death penalty on the convicts in 2004.(GMD,JKV)