“The general response following the screening was a distinct realization that nobody is above the law, and that the stereotypes associated with the “coño” nearly left Larrañaga guilty as mistakenly charged.” (Syjuco, 2012)
There is no justice, when innocent men are in jail; this is the main idea that the two films have in common. With this, let us ask ourselves, “Is there really something wrong with the Philippine and Texas justice system? Are we to admit that it is a corrupt system that we have?” These two films will leave our eyes wide opened to the truth or if not, to the flaws and corruptions in the justice system, not only of our own country, but also that of the others.
Give Up Tomorrow
The documentary film is about a Filipino-Spanish student named Paco Larranaga, who was sentenced to death in 2004 for the double murder and rape of Chiong sisters (Marijoy and Jacqueline) in 1997.
This is the story of what we now know as the Chiong Murder Case, a cebu scandal of the century. Two Chiong sisters go missing on July 16, 1997. Larrañaga was one, along with six other suspects who was pinpointed by the state witness, David Rusia. David Rusia is a convicted felon and was sentenced to prison twice in the United States for other crimes. As claimed by Rusia, he was with Larrañaga in Ayala Center, Cebu early in the evening of July 16, that evening Larrañaga says that he was at R&R Restaurant in Quezon City with his friends; such fact was proven by photographs and the testimonies of his friends.
The defense presented thirty-five witnesses, including Larrañaga’s teachers and classmates at the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) in Quezon City, who all testified under oath that Larrañaga was in Quezon City, when the crime is said to have taken place in Cebu. The trial court considered these testimonies irrelevant, rejecting these as coming from "friends of the accused," and were not admitted. The following are also evidences presented by the defense during trial ---
a)Larrañaga, at that time was at a party at the R&R Restaurant along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, and stayed there until early morning the following day.
b)After the party, the logbook of the security guard at Larrañaga's condominium indicates that Larrañaga returned to his Quezon City condominium at 2:45 a.m.
c)Rowena Bautista, an instructor and chef at the culinary center, said Larrañaga was in school from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and saw him again at about 6:30 p.m on July 16.
d)The school’s registrar, Caroline Calleja, said she proctored a two-hour exam where Larrañaga was present from 1:30 p.m. Larrañaga attended his second round of midterm exams on July 17 commencing at 8 a.m. Only then did Larrañaga leave for Cebu in the late afternoon of July 17, 1997.
e)Airline and airport personnel also came to court with their flight records, indicating that Larrañaga did not take any flight on July 16, 1997, nor was he on board any chartered aircraft that landed in or departed from Cebu during the relevant dates, except the 5 p.m. PAL flight on July 17, 1997 from Manila to Cebu
The aforementioned evidences did not prevent the conviction of Larrañaga along with his six co-accused. The trial court judge, after rendering judgment against them, was found dead in a hotel in Cebu, and allegedly committed suicide. This unexpected event during the Chiong murder case was proven in the film to be part of the whole scheme of putting the blame on Larrañaga, and concealing the truth of the facts with regard to the murder and rape of the Chion sisters. Larrañaga, along with the other co-accused were sentenced to death, and appealed later on, but all of them were denied.
Considering the Filipino-Spanish nationality of Larrañaga, his family asked for help from the Spanish government. In September 2009, the Department of Justice approved Larrañaga's transfer to a Spanish prison. Thelma Chiong,...