Filmmaker returns trophy to protest ‘injustice’

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FILMMAKER Marty Syjuco at the Board of Pardons and Parole office in Quezon City. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

You can have it back.

That’s what  filmmaker Marty Syjuco told the Board of Pardons and Parole  yesterday (Friday) when he returned the Ani ng Dangal trophy  for his documentary  “Give Up Tomorrow,”  in protest  against  the body’s decision to deny clemency to  the subject of his film.

Last week, the board denied the petition for pardon of Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, who is now serving a life sentence in a Spanish prison  for the 1997 rape and murder  of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in Cebu City.

Six other accused are detained at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

Larrañaga, a citizen of the Philippines and Spain, along with six other c-oaccused, was sentenced in 2004 by a Cebu regional trial court to die by lethal injection but was spared with the abolition of the death penalty.

Syjuco arrived at the board’s office to return the trophy personally to chair Natividad Dizon and the members of the board.

But none of the officials, whom employees of the agency said only came to the office to attend scheduled board meetings, was there to accept the award and copies of the documentary Syjuco wanted them to view.

‘Symbol of honor’

“This award is a symbol of honor,” he told reporters. “They gave it to me because the government said my film has brought honor to the country. The Board of Pardons and Parole recently denied Paco’s petition for pardon so I cannot in all good conscience keep this award.”

Syjuco, whose brother is married to Larrañaga’s sister, added, “The  government presented it to us  for bringing honor to the country and yet they do the most dishonorable thing by continuing to perpetuate injustice.”

The filmmaker described his   documentary as a labor of love which took him seven years to make. “I made it because I wanted to show that this injustice happened in front of our eyes. Nobody was aware of it.”

Added Syjuco: “I did my own investigation. I spoke to over 42 witnesses. All of them said they were with Paco in Manila and in Quezon City while the alleged crime was happening in Cebu. How could he have been in two places at one time?”

He expressed hope that the members of the board could watch his documentary and reconsider their decision.

“The Ani ng Dangal award was meant to represent honor and that is why I am bringing it to the board because I want them to do the honorable thing,” he added.

Administrative officer Purita Adagio received the award on behalf of the board’s officials.

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  • okabato

    If Syjuco thinks his bro in law and others is innocent of the crime for which he is serving time then why was he barking on the board of parole and pardon? He should be petitioning the Supreme Court to declare them innocent just like Webb et al case. When you want pardon or parole that means your relative was guilty of the crime but 15 years is not enough for two sisters raped and murdered. Your bro in law is lucky he have his sentence served in Spain complete with good food and accommodation. Tell that to others in Munti and they would gladly switch places.

  • eorlando

    Paco had a fair trial and got a life sentence. Now they want to free him through this onesided and biased film. What a croc ! What about justice for the Chiong Sisters?

  • kilabot

    the film which was fiction, brought honor;
    paco, the rapist murderer, brought shame and punishment upon himself;
    no amount of osmeña or aquino or syjuco can change that.

  • Komen To

    I hope another film maker will make a film on the murder of the sisters. This time, if the film wins an award, would this fool keep quiet?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XALR35ENV2XKV327BZGZ7Q5Z5Q Ernesto

    wla naman injustice dyan kasi may rape case yan c paco,ah gusto ng filmaker palabasin sa kulongan kahit may kaso pa.twin murder w/ rape .mag isip ka filmaker

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