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DoJ: Re-arrest Chiong convicts

Alvin Murcia

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Filipino-Chinese Cebuana sisters Jacqueline (left), 21, and Marijoy Chiong, 23, were last seen in a shopping mall on 16 July 1997. Marijoy’s body, raped and murdered, was found two days later, while Jacqueline remains missing.

The early release of the suspects in the Chiong sisters rape-slay case was erroneous and anomalous.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra himself said the perpetrators of the 1997 rape and murder of Cebuano sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong should be recommitted to prison to serve their remaining sentence.

“These people were found guilty of a heinous crime. So they’re not supposed to benefit from the expanded GCTA (good conduct time allowance) law. Their early release was thus erroneous, if not anomalous,” Guevarra said during the signing of the revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the GCTA law under Republic Act 10592 or the Revised Penal Code.

The revised IRR or the expanded GCTA law was released Monday by the Departments of Justice and Interior and Local Government, reiterating that recidivists, escapees, habitual delinquents and convicts of heinous crimes will not benefit from the GCTA.

Heinous crimes based on jurisprudence and as enumerated in RA 7659 or the scrapped Death Penalty Act are murder, rape, destructive arson, parricide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and drug-related offenses. Convicts of such crimes are disqualified under the 2013 GCTA law.

Seven suspects were convicted in the Chiong case, with Paco Larrañaga, a Spanish citizen, extradited to Spain where he works part-time as a chef but returns to his cell at night.

Three of the convicts, Josman Aznar, Ariel Balansag and Alberto Caño, were released on 19 August due to the GCTA law.

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