Give up tomorrow
Justice should be for all.
Let me begin the blog by saying that this is not about MJ but it IS about justice. We all plead for justice and justice is what this young man needs.
His name is Francisco Juan Larrañaga also called Paco.
Paco was convicted for a crime he didn’t do and was sentenced to death.
It all began in 1997 in the Philippines where 2 young girls – the Chiong sisters – was brutally murdered. Quickly someone stated that Paco and 7 other men kidnapped, raped and killed these girls, even the mother of the young girls said they did it.
Only problem was that Paco was in school that day and later that evening he was with a bunch of friends 186 miles from Cebu where the murder took place. How can he be two places at the same time? Hire a private jet? No!
Nonetheless he was arrested and went to jail in spite of his friends and teachers having proofs of Paco being with them at the time of the crime. They had photos and the teacher had a piece of paper stating that Paco was there that day.
Everyone could see that these young men were innocent – the lawyers, the families, friends and the people in Manila could see that they didn’t murder the Chiong sisters. Worth to mention is that only one of these girls was found, the other one is still missing. Mrs. Chiong never once looked at the girls face but identified her while she had a cloth over her face. How could Mrs. Chiong identify that girl as her daughter?
Nonetheless they were put in jail and had to face a trial, a trial that was so outrageous you just couldn’t believe it. When the question of the identity of the body was brought up in court, the judge declared it of no relevance to the case. It was like going to the Zoo. Paco was not allowed to speak up nor was the other 7 young men. During the trial the judge fell asleep and didn’t care about all the witness and the evidence that proved their innocence.
A young man named David Valiente Rusia took the stand and claimed he was with Paco and the others that night. He told the judge and the jury that they kidnapped, raped and killed the Chiong sisters. Paco didn’t know who this man was and yet the judge took his side and let him speak. The court only permitted Larrañaga’s counsel to cross-examine him for half an hour, despite the fact that Rusia’s direct testimony lasted for days. Long story short, after 2 years the judge finally had the penalty ready. The seven co-defendants were convicted of murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Mrs Chiong fell to the ground and cried happy tears for the verdict. She even visited David Rusia in prison and gave him gifts, food and motherly love before the verdict. Why would a mother visit her daughters killer??
Later David Rusia, who was the only one that confessed, was set free.
In my opinion there is so much corruption in the Philippines justice system since he is the only one who is out of jail. Mrs Chiong is still in contact with him and he is visiting the Chiong family as much as he can. Fishy I know.
Paco never had the change to talk to Mrs. Chiong so he could explain to her that he was innocent. During the documentary we followed Paco in prison and felt his pain. He had to join gangs for safety all though he never once committed any violence in prison. A few months before his death penalty was up he pleaded for justice. He pleaded for a new hearing, he even pleaded Spain for help. Paco is half Spanish. By that time the Philippines had a new governor and she promised to help Paco get his case to the supreme court. Even the Spanish King thought this case was outrageous. Finally after many years Paco’s case reached the supreme court, but the only thing they did was to remove Paco from death row, and instead he could serve his time in prison.
Transfer to Spain
In September of 2009, the Department of Justice approved Larrañaga’s transfer to a Spanish prison. Thelma Chiong, the mother of the victims, expressed shock over the decision, saying that, despite Larrañaga’s Spanish Citizenship, “If you commit a crime in the Philippines, you are jailed in the Philippines”. Larrañaga, escorted by two Spanish Interpol agents, left for Spain on October 6, 2009. His good behavior at the New Bilibid Prison was taken into consideration, and he will serve the rest of his sentence at the Madrid Central Penitentiary where he still is today. The spanish authorities will only release Paco if he admits to the crime he is blamed for.
About a week ago I had the opportunity to watch the documentary “Give Up Tomorrow”. It left me with anger, frustration and a great sadness for these young men, whose lives have been ruined. Like I said to begin with this started in 1997 and Paco was a young 19-year-old boy with lots of goals in his life. Now 14 years later Paco is still in jail in Spain. Just think about how he feels. His life is forever changed, he is marked for life and will never again have a normal life. I hope that one day Paco will be free because that’s what he needs to be. He needs to be with his family. I for one will not give up on him and I am willing to do what ever I can to help free Paco, whether it is to send the Spanish consulate an email or to take it a step further.
You can do the same. Add a ribbon, speak up for Paco. Be his voice. I ask the MJ community to help Paco. Tell your friends about this innocent young man. This is a link to the Spanish Justice Department and I highly recommend you to use the contact form. Tell them about Paco, ask them to have a look at his case. Tell your friends to do the same.
Click here to open the contact form to the Spanish Ministry Of Justice
What kind of Justice system do we have?
Last I want to express my confusion about the modern justice system I thought we had. The Philippines justice system is clearly corrupted since they never once listened to Paco or the 35 witness. What shocks me the most is the Spanish justice system because somehow they are acting like the Philippines justice system. They still haven’t looked at Paco’s case. I don’t know if and when they find the “time” to do so. Soon I hope.
It really breaks my heart to write this, but Larrañaga, born in 1977, will be 61 when he is released for something he didn’t do.
I want to thank Michael Collins and Marty Syjuco for making this heartbreaking documentary. You are Paco’s true fighters and we are only here to back you up.
You can follow Michael and Marty here
If you wish to write to Paco you can do it here http://www.justiceforpaco.org/
We at WAMJ finds it important to support this case, because the MJ Community is all about justice, and we must not forget that everybody – not just MJ – is entitled to justice. And that’s why we write about Paco and ask you to support him.
Unfortunately we don’t think Paco is the only one being unfairly prisoned in this world, but we are many people with many voices, and this will not be the first time we raise our voice as one.
The people behind the Free Paco Now campaign, needs his story to be spread. Because the more people knowing about Paco and talking about, the bigger the pressure we can put on those governments treating people unfairly. Helping Paco, will help others too, because awareness is what is needed right now. Help us spread Paco’s story. Take the first step to fight injustice in this world with us.
We will post more blogs about Paco as soon as we are updated.
Michael Jackson was being treated unfairly, blamed for something he didn’t do and facing 20 years in prison if he hadn’t won his trial.
In many ways, the case is the same with Paco, the only difference is that Paco was not allowed to talk, nor was his defence and he was sentenced to death.
Paco’s story have been read times on this blog, please share it with others.
Free Paco NOW!
If you have the possibility of watching the documentary about Paco, you should do it: