JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said the convicts in the 1997 murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu do not qualify for the benefits under the good conduct time allowance law.
Guevarra revealed this less than 24 hours after he and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año signed the revised implementing rules and guidelines of Republic Act 10592,
“These people were found guilty of a heinous crime. So they’re not supposed to benefit from the expanded GCTA law. Their early release was thus erroneous, if not anomalous. They should thus be recommitted to prison to serve their remaining sentence,” Guevarra said in a message.
In 1997, sisters Marijoy, 21, and Jacqueline Chiong, 23, disappeared while waiting for their ride home outside a mall in Cebu City.
Marijoy’s badly-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, Roberto Caño, Ariel Balansag, Josman 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.