10 October 2005
Madrid.- In time for the World Day Against the Death Penalty, Amnesty International is again urging President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to abolish the death penalty in the Philippines and grant all death row convicts an executive clemency.
The organization has handed over 165,000 signatures to the Embassy of the Philippines in Madrid, asking for a commutation of a death sentence, specifically for Paco Larrañaga, 27 years old and holding a Filipino-Spanish citizenship. Larrañaga was found guilty, along with other six suspects, for kidnap, rape and murder of the Chiong sisters, Marijoy and Jacqueline in Cebu City in 1997.
On July 21 of this year, the supreme court has affirmed the death sentence for the 6 convicted men and life imprisonment for James Anthony Uy, who was under 18 when the crime was committed.
Amnesty International – Spanish Section has been organizing its membership in Alicante, Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Oviedo, Salamanca, Seville, Vigo and Zumárraga in support of Larrañaga, who is believed to have been in Manila when the the crime took place.
“Amnesty International members around the world appeal to you to commute the death sentence of Francisco Larrañaga. Your act of clemency should signal a reinstitution of a moratorium on executions, pending moves within your congress to debate resolutions calling for repeal of the death penalty law, with a view to abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines.” According to the letter of appeal sent to PGMA.
The threat of a series of executions because of the continuance of affirming death sentences by the supreme court is a cause of particular regret for Amnesty International. The organization opposes the death penalty worldwide in all cases without exception as a violation of one of the most fundamental of human rights: the right to life.