Is this Government Really Criminal-Friendly?
We, women’s groups, are outraged by the impending transfer of convicted rapist Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga to a penal facility in Spain to serve the remainder of his life sentence for the rape and murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu in 1997.
Not many Filipinos are aware that a RP-Spain Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreement has been signed by our government in May 2007, and supported by a domestic law that became effective in January 2008. The local law was authored by Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu, 2nd District).
First, may we ask the responsible legislators as to why they prioritized the country of Spain for this treaty? In November 2007, while this bill was being deliberated on, the Chiong family already expressed objection to the passage of the RP-Spain TSPA for favoring Larrañaga. During the same period, Larranaga was appealing his conviction to the Supreme Court. Is it pure coincidence that the rapist is a “scion of the powerful and wealthy Osmeña clan of Cebu”?
Second, why prioritize Spain when 128 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are languishing in Kuwaiti jails compared to seven (7) detained in Spain? Then Executive Director Ed Malaya of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ (DFA) Legal Affairs Office commented that the law will benefit Filipinos serving their sentences in other countries. The Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that the most number of Filipino detainees is found in Malaysia with 1,600. DFA itself reported that as of June 2007, there were 4,770 Filipinos languishing in jails in 63 countries and territories. Following Malaysia was Japan with 734, with 130 in the Osaka area; Qatar, 554; U.S., 406; Abu Dhabi, 198; Saudi Arabia (Jeddah only) 161; Hong Kong, 127.
Let us not forget the cases of Romeo Jalosjos, Claudio Teehankee, Jr., Chavit Singson and other criminals who got executive pardon for financial and political reasons. When government favors convicted rapists or simply “reprimands” its appointed officials accused of wife battering, who all come from the elite, where do ordinary citizens turn to for justice? Yet, we must remain vigilant and pursue perpetrators of sexual crimes against women, even as they may be protected by this government itself.
We stand in solidarity with the family of the victims. Justice must be served to the end.
Jean Enriquez, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and World March of Women – Pilipinas
Marlene Sindayen, Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL)-Women
Atty. Cristina Sevilla, WomenLEAD and ECPAT-Philippines
Lotlot D. Requizo, KAISA-KA
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, WomanHealth, Philippines
Liza Gonzales, Bagong Kamalayan Collective, Inc. (BKCI)
Monina Geaga, Sarilaya
Mercedes Fabros, Welga ng Kababaihan
Anna Leah Sarabia, Kababaihan Laban sa Karahasan Foundation
Yuen Abana, Task Force Subic Rape (TFSR)