Docu on Chiong sisters’ rape-murder case wins Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award

Trailer of Give Up Tomorrow

 

(SPOT.ph) Give Up Tomorrow, which follows the trial of Francisco Juan "Paco" Larrañaga, one of the men convicted in the high-profile rape-murder case of sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong, won the 2011 Heineken Audience Award in the Tribeca Film Festival, reports Inquirer.net.

At the festival’s wrap party the past weekend, the organizers announced that director Michael Collins will receive a cash prize of $25,000 (about P1 million). The documentary, which took six years to finish, was earlier awarded the Special Jury Mention prize in the World Documentary Competition at the festival.

Variety film critic Ronnie Scheib called the film "remarkably cogent." Scheib said, "Docus about abuses of justice abound, but few present complicated events in so concrete, linear and compelling a fashion."

Collins told Inquirer.net that while he was onstage with festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal, he saw many people in the crowd holding up a "Free Paco Now" sign. He said, "I was speechless. Then they started chanting the same. To see that so many people now know Paco’s name and his true story is the greatest award we could imagine."

Larrañaga, scion of the Osmeña clan, was among the men charged with two life terms each for the controversial case in the ’90s. He was deported to Spain in 2007, under a prisoner exchange treaty between the country and the Philippines. His family and friends have insisted on his innocence, claiming Larrañaga was in Manila when the crime in Cebu happened.

The film’s producer Marty Syjuco, Larrañaga’s brother-in-law, told Inquirer.net, "I know people will question my objectivity (my brother Jaime is married to Paco’s sister Mimi) but our relationship gave me inside access and perspective... I now strongly believe that many Filipino prisoners were denied due process, are innocent, or both. My own mother saw Paco in Manila while the crime was allegedly happening in Cebu. She was not allowed to testify in court by the trial judge."

He added that he and Collins felt like quitting "every day for six years. And then we’d think about Paco and how he has survived almost 14 years in prison, telling himself each day to give up tomorrow, instead of today."

For more on this story, log on to Inquirer.net.

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