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Of the foregoing rights, what appellants obviously claim as having been trampled upon
by the trial court are their:
(a) right to be assisted by counsel at every stage of the proceedings;
- Appointment of counsel de officio
- Strategic Maneuver to delay
- Right to counsel granted with a reasonable time and for the right reaons

(b) right to confront and cross-examine the prosecution witnesses;

- imposed limitation on the length of time - not considered as curtailment of rights
- This is to conserve time and protect the witness from needless examination
- The Court has the discretion to limit it and consider it terminated if it would serve the ends of
- Insisted that counsel de parte conduct the examination, subject to numerous delays
- It appears therefore, that if some of the prosecution witnesses were not subjected to
cross examination, it was not because appellants were not given the opportunity to do
so. The fact remains that their new counsel de parte refused to cross-examine them.
Thus, appellants waived their right "to confront and cross examine the witnesses" against

(c) right to produce evidence on their behalf; and

- exclusion of the testimonies of four (4) airlines personnel which were intended to prove
that Larrañaga did not travel to Cebu from Manila or from Cebu to Manila on July 16,
- not allowing the defense to continue with the" tedious process of presenting additional
witnesses to prove Larrañaga's enrollment at the Center for Culinary Arts (known practice
of students who are temporarily residing in Metro Manila to return to their provinces
once in a while to spend time with their families)

(d) right to an impartial trial.

- cannot fault Judge Ocampo for exhaustively reminding appellants' counsel of the
parameters of alibi to ensure that there will be an orderly and expeditious presentation
of defense witnesses and that there will be no time wasted by dispensing with the
testimonies of witnesses which are not relevant. Remarks which merely manifest a desire
to confine the proceedings to the real point in issue and to expedite the trial do not
constitute a rebuke of counsel.
- The transcript of stenographic notes reveals that Judge Ocampo uttered them, not to
cast doubt on the moral character of Lourdes Montalvan, but merely to determine the
credibility of her story
- A trial judge is not a wallflower during trial. It is proper for him to caution and
admonish witnesses when necessary and he may rebuke a witness for levity or for other
improper conduct
According to the Rules of Criminal Procedure:
(d) Said accused does not appear to be most guilty;
(e) Said accused has not at anytime been convicted of any offense involving moral

It bears stressing that appellants were charged with kidnapping and illegal detention,
Thus, Rusia's admission that he raped Jacqueline does not make him the "most guilty"
of the crimes charged. Moreover, far from being the mastermind, his participation, as
shown by the chronology of events, was limited to that of an oblivious follower who
simply "joined the ride" as the commission of the crimes progressed.

The fact that Rusia was convicted of third degree burglary in Minessotta does not
render his testimony inadmissible.

Mangubat vs Sandiganbayan: Anent the contention that Delia Preagido should not have
been discharged as a state witness because of a 'previous final conviction' of crimes
involving moral turpitude, suffice it to say that 'this Court has time and again declared
that even if the discharged state witness should lack some of the qualifications
enumerated by Section 9, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court, his testimony will not, for
that reason alone, be discarded or disregarded. This is upon the principle that such error
of the court does not affect the competency and the quality of the testimony of the
discharged defendant.

But, more importantly, what makes Rusia's testimony worthy of belief is the marked
compatibility between such testimony and the physical evidence. Physical evidence is an
evidence of the highest order. It speaks eloquently than a hundred witnesses. The
presence of Marijoy's ravished body in a deep ravine at Tan-awan, Carcar with tape on
her mouth and handcuffs on her wrists certainly bolstered Rusia's testimony on what
actually took place from Ayala Center to Tan-awan. Indeed, the details he supplied to
the trial court were of such nature and quality that only a witness who actually saw the
commission of the crimes could furnish. What is more, his testimony was corroborated
by several other witnesses who saw incidents of what he narrated, thus: (1) Rolando
Dacillo and Mario Minoza saw Jacqueline's two failed attempts to escape from
appellants; (2) Alfredo Duarte saw Rowen when he bought barbeque and Tanduay at
Nene's Store while the white van, driven by Alfredo Caño, was waiting on the side of
the road and he heard voices of "quarreling male and female" emanating from the van;
(3) Manuel Camingao testified on the presence of Larrañaga and Josman at Tan-awan,
Carcar at dawn of July 17, 1997; and lastly, (4) Benjamin Molina and Miguel Vergara
recognized Rowen as the person who inquired from them where he could find a vehicle
for hire, on the evening of July 16, 1997. All these bits and pieces of story form part
of Rusia's narration
Rusia's discharge has the effect of an acquittal. We are not inclined to recall such
discharge lest he will be placed in double jeopardy. Parenthetically, the order for his
discharge may only be recalled in one instance, which is when he subsequently failed to
testify against his co-accused. The fact that not all the requisites for his discharge are
present is not a ground to recall the discharge order. Unless and until it is shown that
the he failed or refused to testify against his coaccused, subsequent proof showing that
any or all of the conditions listed in Sec. 9 of Rule 119 were not fulfilled would not wipe
away the resulting acquittal


We reviewed the records exhaustively and found no compelling reason why we should
deviate from the findings of fact and conclusion of law of the trial court. Rusia's detailed
narration of the circumstances leading to the horrible death and disappearance of
Jacqueline has all the earmarks of truth. Despite the rigid cross-examination conducted
by the defense counsel, Rusia remained steadfast in his testimony. The other witnesses
presented by the prosecution corroborated his narration as to its material points which
reinforced its veracity.

For the defense of alibi to prosper, the accused must show that he was in another
place at such a period of time that it was physically impossible for him to have been at
the place where the crime was committed at the time of its commission. requirements of
time and place must be strictly met. They failed to establish by clear and convincing
evidence that it was physically impossible for them to be at the Ayala Center, Cebu City
when the Chiong sisters were abducted. What is clear from the evidence is that Rowen,
Josman, Ariel, Alberto, James Anthony and James Andrew were all within the vicinity of
Cebu City on July 16, 1997

Not even Larrañaga who claimed to be in Quezon City satisfied the required proof of
physical impossibility. During the hearing, it was established that it takes only one (1)
hour to travel by plane from Manila to Cebu and that there are four (4) airline
companies plying the route. One of the defense witnesses admitted that there are
several flights from Manila to Cebu each morning, afternoon and evening

No less than four (4) witnesses for the prosecution identified him as one of the two
men talking to Marijoy and Jacqueline on the night of July 16, 1997. Shiela Singson
testified that on July 16, 1997, at around 7:20 in the evening, she saw Larrañaga
approach Marijoy and Jacqueline at the West Entry of Ayala Center. The incident
reminded her of Jacqueline's prior story that he was Marijoy's admirer. She (Shiela)
confirmed that she knows Larrañaga since she had seen him on five (5) occasions.
Analie Konahap also testified that on the same evening of July 16, 1997, at about 8:00
o'clock, she saw Marijoy and Jacqueline talking to two (2) men at the West Entry of
Ayala Center. She recognized them as Larrañaga and Josman, having seen them
several times at Glicos, a game zone, located across her office at the third level of
Ayala Center. Williard Redobles, the security guard then assigned at Ayala Center,
corroborated the foregoing testimonies of Shiela and Analie. In addition, Rosendo Rio, a
businessman from Cogon, Carcar, declared that he saw Larrañaga at Tan-awan at about
3:30 in the morning of July 17, 1997. The latter was leaning against the hood of a
white van

Taking the individual testimonies of the above witnesses and that of Rusia, it is
reasonable to conclude that Larrañaga was indeed in Cebu City at the time of the
commission of the crimes and was one of the principal perpetrators.

Of course, we have also weighed the testimonial and documentary evidence presented
by appellants in support of their respective alibi. However, they proved to be wanting
and incredible.

Appellants attempted to establish their defense of alibi through the testimonies of

relatives and friends who obviously wanted them exculpated of the crimes charged.
Naturally, we cannot but cast an eye of suspicion on their testimonies.

Rusia positively identified the appellants. The settled rule is that positive identification of
an accused by credible witnesses as the perpetrator of the crime demolishes alibi

was corroborated by several disinterested witnesses who also identified the appellants.
Most of them are neither friends, relatives nor acquaintances of the victims' family. As
we reviewed closely the transcript of stenographic notes, we could not discern any
motive on their part why they should testify falsely

As to the body:
We are not convinced. Rusia testified that Josman instructed Rowen "to get rid" of
Marijoy and that following such instruction, Rowen and Ariel pushed her into the deep
ravine. Furthermore, Inspector Edgardo Lenizo, expert, testified that the fingerprints of the
corpse matched those of Marijoy. a fingerprint The packaging tape and the handcuff
found on the dead body were the same items placed on Marijoy and Jacqueline while
they were being detained. The body had the same clothes worn by Marijoy on the day
she was abducted

The elements of the crime defined in Art. 267 above are: (a) the accused is a private
individual; (b) he kidnaps or detains another, or in any manner deprives the latter of his
liberty; (c) the act of detention or kidnapping must be illegal; and (d) in the commission
of the offense, any of the four (4) circumstances mentioned above is present.
Article 267 states that if the victim is killed or died as a consequence of the detention,
or is raped or subjected to torture or dehumanizing acts, the maximum penalty shall be

Thus, we hold that all the appellants are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the special
complex crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention with homicide and rape in
Criminal Case No. CBU-45303 wherein Marijoy is the victim; and simple kidnapping and
serious illegal detention in Criminal Case No. CBU-45304 wherein Jacqueline is the

In a special complex crime, the prosecution must necessarily prove each of the
component offenses with the same precision that would be necessary if they were made
the subject of separate complaints.

Forensic Scientist: Overwhelmed at Lapses in Chiong Case

The utility of forensic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis in resolving issues involving the
identification of individuals has long been recognized and accepted worldwide. The Philippines
is no exception.

Unfortunately, DNA technology was not available in the Philippines in 1997 during the alleged
kidnapping, rape and murder of the Chiong sisters. Could DNA have helped in the
investigation of the case? Highly likely. Proper collection of samples from the body
alleged to be one of the sisters could have provided the DNA profile of the perpetrators,
if she was indeed raped. At the very least, DNA could have properly identified the body, if she
was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chiong. The cremation of the entire body without the
collection of a reference sample that would have been useful for future DNA testing, has
forever prevented us from taking this option. It is a pity because DNA science by its very
nature will always aim to develop better technologies- more robust, more discriminating, more
accurate and more informative for as long as there is a biological sample that was preserved for
this purpose- so as to be a better tool for the criminal justice system.

As a forensic scientist examining this 21-year old case, I am overwhelmed at the

numerous lapses, unrealized potentials, pain and human suffering that could have been
avoided if only there was a genuine search for truth without prejudice. Sadly, the Cebu 7
continue to suffer this prejudice as they remain imprisoned. On top of this, our work has shown
us that there are many other Paco Larrañaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Cano,
Ariel Balansag, James Anthony Uy and James Andrew Uy who have been wrongfully convicted,
and imprisoned in the many overcrowded jails in the Philippines for crimes that they did not
commit. When will we as a nation, learn to face the truth, and to face it boldly without prejudice
because only then can the truth truly set us free?

Maria Corazon A. De Ungria, PhD

Innocence Project Philippines

Forensic expert, binalikan ang mga pangyayari sa Chiong rape-murder case noong 1997
by Jojo Gabinete posted on July 20, 2018
Ang pagsasapelikula sa kidnap/rape/murder story ng Chiong sisters at ang pagbubukas nito sa
mga sinehan noong July 18 ang naging gatilyo para muling pag-usapan ang kaso at ng
uploading sa YouTube ng Give Up Tomorrow.

Ang Give Up Tomorrow ay ang 2011 documentary movie tungkol kay Paco Larrañaga, ang
prime suspect sa krimen na nangyari noong July 16, 1997.

At press time, may 671,000 views na ang Give Up Tomorrow mula nang i-upload ito sa
YouTube noong July 17, isang araw bago ang theatrical exhibition ng Jacqueline Comes Home
ng Viva Films.

Isang malaking sorpresa na nagkaroon ng interes ang mga kabataang panoorin ang Jacqueline
Comes Home at ang Give Up Tomorrow dahil sa ingay na nilikha ng pelikula nina Meg Imperial
at Donnalyn Bartolome.

Nakadagdag sa lumalawak na kontrobersiya tungkol sa Jacqueline Comes Home ang mga

tweeted statement ni Dra. Raquel Fortun, ang first Filipino woman forensic pathologist na
kinonsulta noon ng kampo ni Larrañaga para suriin muli ang crime scene investigation at ang
bangkay ni Marijoy.

Narito ang ilan sa kanyang mga tweet tungkol sa Chiong case at sa pelikula:

“Ah yes that Cebu Chiong case. I was consulted by the defense, reviewed the csi and
findings on the alleged victim's body. Oh I also autopsied the judge. My verdict: PH
criminal justice system stinks."

"Cebu's Vizconde. One of my early laglag panga cases after arriving from training. Ganito talaga
sa Pilipinas? No physical evidence just a star witness kuno pointing fingers? And the
media circus was awful."

"Chiong case is coming back to me. How did they say body was gang-raped when it was
recovered decomposing? Crime lab tech on gross exam of panty saw 'stains' he thought
were semen. He touched them. As in. Positive daw sa Florence test. (Kapatid ng paraffin si
Florence btw)"

"I remember the circus in Judge Ocampo's court. Defense fought to see the clothes. I
particularly wanted to see if DNA exam was feasible on the panty. But the garments were
mixed in plastic bags (NO-NO!). The panty was moldy with holes cut out. Got case file
pics of that."

"So you had a movie made to tell your side and now all the more it's making you look bad
because people now want to know what really happened. Any chance a certain senator was in
on this too?"
"When some people learned the Larrañagas consulted me in the Chiong case they were
aghast. Why are you helping them I was asked."

"Thanks to media the accused were convicted by the public long before the judge did. I've had
other cases like this. But forensic science is not about taking sides. We search for the
truth. Those who ask for our help are the ones not afraid of the truth."

"Meg Imperial said 'the movie is not about justice' but 'Mrs Chiong hopes that Viva's movie could
clarify the issue and enlighten the public.' How do you do that?'"

Si Fortun din ang nagsagawa ng autopsy sa labi ni Judge Martin Ocampo ng Cebu Regional
Trial Court na kinitil ang sariling buhay noong October 7, 1999.

Si Ocampo ang nagpataw ng two-life terms kay Larrañaga at sa ibang mga suspect sa
pagpaslang sa Chiong sisters.

Limang buwan matapos patawan ng parusa ang mga akusado, natagpuan ang bangkay ni
Ocampo sa isang hotel at ang kanyang alleged suicide note.

Kaya may mga intriguing speculation ang millennials na nagpakita ng interes sa kaso ng Chiong

Pero may sagot si Fortun tungkol sa autopsy niya sa katawan ng biktima:

"Locked himself in hotel room, tried cutting wrists and ankles but didn't die.

"Successful with single contact gunshot wound of temple using his own gun.

"Suicide note. Clear intent, self-inflicted," ang pahayag ni Fortun para sa ikapapanatag ng
kalooban ng mga nagbibigay ng ibang interpretasyon sa suicide ni Ocampo.



Francisco Juan Larrañaga, or Paco, as he is called, is not a character who will melt you to tears.
He has sharp mestizo features, is hefty and flabby, and who, once upon a time, was a bad boy
of Cebu. During his teens, he and his gang figured in scuffles, building a notorious reputation in
the city.
Larrañaga wasn’t deprived of opportunities at all; his family is wealthy and landed (his mother is
an Osmeña) and he was sent to a culinary school in an upper-middle class section of Quezon

But what the country’s criminal justice system did to him, abetted by a public and media crying
for blood and apparently by powerful figures, runs against all the tenets of fair trial and justice.
This is the heart of “Give Up Tomorrow,” a moving and compelling documentary on the wrongful
conviction of Larrañaga.

Now 35, Larrañaga has been behind bars for 15 years, 12 in the Philippines’ New Bilibid Prison,
and the last 3 in a Spanish jail. (Paco’s father is a Spanish national.)

The title of the film comes from a quote from Larrañaga. In an interview, he said that he is able
to cope by living for the day, and “giving up tomorrow.”

The film by Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco makes a strong case for Larrañagas innocence.
He and six others were convicted for the July 1997 kidnapping and rape of 23-year old Marijoy
Chiong, a local beauty, and her sister, 20-year old Jacqueline. Marijoy’s mutilated body was
found in a ravine in Carcar, outside Cebu City, while, to this day, Jacqueline’s body remains

This despicable crime led to what was dubbed in Cebu as the “trial of the century,” a
riveting saga that reached the Philippine Supreme Court, the United Nations Human
Rights Committee, and the Spanish government.

Collins and Syjuco lay out the timeline and facts of the case through interviews with the major
characters including the Larrañagas (Paco, his parents, and brother and sister) and Thelma
Chiong, the victims’ mother (she has since become the national vice president of the group
Crusade Against Violence), the prosecutors, defense lawyers, witnesses, and journalists who
covered the trial, supported by actual footage of the trial and events surrounding it, and
documentary evidence.

Paco was in Manila

About 40 witnesses, not all of whom were called to testify in court, said that Larrañaga was in
class on the day the crime was committed, July 16, 1997. Among them were his classmates and
teacher. The attendance sheet listed his name. Representatives of 4 airline companies testified
that Larrañaga was not in their manifest on July 15 or 16. He flew to Cebu on the 17th.

There are other details in the film that buttress Larrañaga’s alibi but, swarmed by a hostile public
and media, the Cebu judge found all these unconvincing.
It was the testimony of the prosecution’s star witness, who claimed to have been part of the
gang that mercilessly raped the Chiong sisters and identified Larrañaga et al as his
companions, that swayed the judge and the crowd.

The film shows, however, that this witness, Davidson Valiente Rusia, claimed to have
been tortured by the police to pin down Larrañaga and the others.

Judge Martin Ocampo sentenced Larrañaga and company to 2 life terms; his decision was met
with a roaring applause and jeers for the convicted. (In a dramatic twist, the judge later killed

Both sides appealed to the Supreme Court, with the prosecution seeking the death penalty for
the convicts. The Court listened and meted out death by lethal injection.

Larrañaga brought his case to the UN Human Rights Committee which found numerous
violations of the convict’s rights during the course of the trial, from the lower court to the
Supreme Court, and recommended, in 2006, a “commutation of his death sentence and early
consideration for release on parole.”

Like Webb

This case is reminiscent of Hubert Webb’s ordeal. The difference is: Webb was acquitted after
14 years of spending the prime of his life in jail.

Like Larrañaga, the testimony of a star witness, Jessica Alfaro, put Webb at the scene of the
crime when evidence showed that he was in the US at the time of the murder of the Vizconde

At the time, the court, the public and the media believed Alfaro.

“Give Up Tomorrow” is an extraordinarily powerful reminder of what can go wrong with our
criminal justice system, a nightmare that haunts not just Larrañaga but ordinary people. It’s a
horrible experience and it destroys people’s lives.

The judge in Spain who is reviewing Larrañaga’s case wants him to admit guilt before he can be
released on parole.

The film is so intense that even after it ended, I was still glued to my seat. I didn’t feel like
leaving the theater. There was a lot to think about, questions that needed answers, and the urge
to talk about this tragic story, compare notes, and share it with others.

Thus, here’s my contribution to the conversation that Collins’ and Syjuco’s film started. -
Friend of the Chiong Seven

I am rebutting Florence Dueñas Lagcao’s arguments against Paco’s claims because innocent
lives are wasting away and justice is still denied all of the victims. Unlike her I am not doing this
because I am bored or I just want to jump into the bandwagon. I am doing this because
“injustice for one is injustice for all.”
Regarding Paco’s and the Teacher’s Conflicting Stories... When Paco gave his written affidavit
about July 16, I believe it was months after July 16. He was yanked from his home and brought
to a precinct. In shock, in disbelief, harassed and pressured he was demanded to write what he
was supposed to be doing on a particular normal day that happened months before. Because it
was for a high-profile case he was not released and was only allowed to talk to lawyers and
family members. They also had no idea what he was doing on July 16. So he had to rely on his
own memory. Mind you he had no access to records or to people who were with him during that
time. He couldn’t ask anybody or even check his schedule or notes if he had any. Let me ask
you... without checking your smartphone, given his same condition of an accused in jail... would
you be able to recall exactly what you were doing just last June 16, 2018... which was a month
ago? Given it was an ordinary day? Can you get all your details exactly correct?

When his teacher later on testified in court about July 16... I believe more than a year had
passed already. The teacher, who had access to her written schedules and her calendar, the
chance to ask students and colleagues and the capacity to check class records... may be more
accurate in her recollection. That is understandable.

But if both Paco and his teacher both had precisely identical testimonies... what would that
mean? Either both had perfect memory of an ordinary day that happened a long time before...
or one of them altered their story to fit the other. No, that didn’t happen.

Now let’s go to the star witness’ testimony... which as Ms. Lagcao stated, perfectly fitted the
evidence provided by the police and prosecution. Here are the facts:

1. If my memory serves me right... the star witness had a criminal record and was actually in
prison for a different offense when he suddenly became a state witness.

2. He was held by the same authorities who had access to the evidence that was going to be
used in court.

3. He perfectly corroborated all the evidences.

4. He was powerfully detailed even if the incidents he was narrating happened more than a year

5. He had perfect recollection of what happened even if drugs and alcohol were being used
heavily at the time of the crime.

Yet there was a perfect testimony by an imperfect witness... who was granted freedom soon

The testimony of this man was allowed... but 40 people who were all upstanding citizens with
zero criminal records, armed with pictures and official documents.... were not allowed to testify?
Lastly with regards the plane ticket. All airlines at that time did not have Paco’s name on their
ledgers. He did not fly in and out of Cebu on July 14, 15, 16 and 17 noontime.

There were more than 40 people saying he was in Manila on the 16th. From the early morning
to the next day he was accounted for. Records also showed he was attending class all that
time... Yet the burden of proof is still with Paco? Shouldn’t the burden of proof be with the
prosecution? Shouldn’t there be an assumption of innocence before guilt. Shouldn’t the
prosecution provide the tickets or even airline records proving he was in Cebu?

Of course that was not needed because more than 40 witnesses who were all willing to stake
their good names in court to testify Paco was in Manila... were all assumed liars.

There were other farces that happened during the trial... like how the defense lawyers and their
forensics were not allowed access to the body. Like why no picture of the face of the victim was
ever provided. Like why Paco was not allowed to testify even if he insisted. Like why the
defense lawyers were not allowed to cross-examine the prosecutor’s star witness... and when
the defense lawyers tried to fight for Paco’s rights... they themselves ended up “charged with
contempt” and sent into prison.

Paco did not rape and kill those ladies. If he did or if there was even a shadow of a doubt that
he did... we, his friends would not back him up passionately. Ask yourself... if you did a heinous
crime can you find 40 friends of yours to lie for you?

Truth be told, if Paco is guilty for those crimes accused of him I would gladly pull the switch
myself to kill his ass.

But for him to find more than 40 witnesses to testify that he was innocent... yet not a single one
was allowed? You still believe there was no miscarriage of justice there?

Lastly, here’s one thing everyone should know: Ms Lagcao is correct, early on, Paco was
offered a complete pardon by the Spanish government. This was a technicality in their laws. The
Spanish government cannot give pardon to a convict who does not admit his crime. So they
could only give Paco a pardon and set him free if he admitted his guilt.

This meant Paco could experience being a freeman without having to be treated like a convicted
criminal in Spain if he accepted the offer. He refused.

Years later... to this day... the offer still stands. To this day he still refuses the offer. Why!!!? If he
did the crime, why not take the offer and enjoy freedom? It’s an offer of complete pardon and
assured liberty. You know why Paco didn’t take the offer but rather chose to endure the reality
of his conviction?

He would rather deny his complete freedom than spend a single moment living a lie.
Is that an action of a guilty man?


Somehow I cannot post a comment on Ms. Lagcao’s post. If my arguments do make sense to
you.... feel free to copy and paste it to her post if you have access. Thank you.

If you feel raw and want to do something about this injustice... please sign and share this