MANILA - Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed rejecting the plea for executive clemency of Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, one of the convicted rapists and killers of the Chiong sisters.
“Larrañaga hasn't met the minimum requirements, particularly the minimum years of prison sentence already served,” she said in a text message.
She said the decision was arrived at by the Board of Pardons and Parole, an attached agency of the Department of Justice. She said, however, that President Benigno Aquino III has the final say on the matter.
She said the board merely applied the Amended Guidelines for Recommending Executive Clemency in deciding against the request.
A provision dictates that the convict needs to serve “at least one half of the minimum of his indeterminate and/or definite prison term or the aggregate minimum of his determinate and/or prison terms to qualify for commutation of sentence at the very least.”
Absolute pardon, meanwhile, requires “serving of maximum sentence or granting final release and discharge or court termination of probation.”
She said the BPP’s decision is only a recommendation.
“A favorable recommendation from BPP is not a mandatory prerequisite for the President to exercise his power to grant clemency,” she said.
Larrañaga’s application is now under consideration by Malacanang.
Larrañaga is one of seven convicted by a Cebu court in 1999 for the murder of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong.
They were sentenced to death by lethal injection.
In 2005, the Supreme Court added rape to the charges.
However, then President Gloria Arroyo signed into law in 2006 a measure repealing capital punishment. All death sentences were commuted to life.
Larrañaga was able to obtain a Spanish citizenship and was transferred to a penal facility in Spain in 2009.
His appeal was filed after the release of “Give Up Tomorrow," an award-winning documentary on his case.