JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday disclosed that two persons convicted for the 1997 murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu and who were recently released under the good conduct time allowance law had already surrendered Friday night.
These convicts are Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño.
“Balansag and Caño surrendered to the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) yesterday (Friday), (as) per info obtained from BuCor,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters, adding that the third convict will turn himself in next week.
The third convict was identified as Jozman Aznar, who was also released from the New Bilibid Prison through the GCTA law.
Aznar belongs to a prominent family in Cebu, Balansag was a passenger vehicle conductor, and Caño was a van driver.
Last Wednesday night, President Duterte fired BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon for causing the premature release of some of the convicts, and ordered freed inmates some 2,000 of them, to surrender in 15 days.
They would be treated as fugitives from justice after the 15-day grace period and would be hunted down, Duterte said.
In 1997, sisters Marijoy, 21, and Jacqueline Chiong, 23, disappeared while waiting for their ride home outside a mall in Cebu City.
Marijoy’s heavily-decomposed body was found but Jacqueline’s body, to this day, is still missing.
In 1999, a Cebu court convicted Francisco “Paco” Larrañaga (great grandson of the late president Sergio Osmeña, Sr.), Rowen Adlawan, Caño, Balansag, Aznar, James Andrew Uy, and James Anthony Uy. The Supreme Court upheld this decision five years later in 2005.
In 2007, a Spanish foreign minister convinced the Philippine government to allow Larrañaga, a Spanish citizen, to serve his sentence in Spain under a treaty the Philippines signed with Spain only in November 2007. Larrañaga left for Spain in October 2009.