DoJ: Larranaga going to Spain

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — JUSTICE Secretary Agnes Devanadera yesterday said the transfer of murder convict Paco Larrañaga will proceed as planned unless stopped by the Supreme Court.

Devanadera issued the statement in light of the claim of the mother of the Chiong sisters that she will exhaust all legal remedies including a petition before the SC to stop the transfer of Larrañaga to Spain.

The other day, the Chiong matriarch was quoted to have said that she would seek an audience with Devanadera in a last ditch effort to stop the transfer.

“As long as there is no TRO (temporary restraining order), we will proceed (with the transfer). But it’s good if the mother will see me and I can explain to her the process (of the treaty),” the DoJ chief said.

“But its their right if they go to the SC. They can seek all the remedies they want,” she added.

Just recently, the government gave permission for Larrañaga, a Filipino of Basque origin, to be transferred to Spain to serve out the rest of his life term for rape and murder.

Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs Miguel Ángel Moratinos made the announcement on Tuesday during a press conference with his Filipino counterpart, Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo, during the Spanish official’s visit to the country.

Moving the prisoner to Spain is being done under a reciprocal contract signed by both countries in 2007 agreeing that Spanish citizens convicted in the Philippines should complete their prison sentences in Spain.

Larrañaga, along with seven others, were charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu. One of the sisters was thrown into a ravine, the body of the other has never been found.

Larrañaga has always protested his innocence, while more than 35 witnesses, including Paco’s teachers and classmates at the Center for Culinary Arts in Quezon City, testified under oath that he was in Metro Manila at the time of the crime which took place in Cebu.

Originally condemned to death by lethal injection in 2004, the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment when President Macapagal-Arroyo, abolished the death penalty in 2006.