Sunday, October 7, 2012


         I watched a movie the other day that totally blew my mind.. A movie I had been wanting to see for so long.. The documentary, GIVE UP TOMORROW.

         Give Up Tomorrow is the story of how seven men were screwed over by the Philippine justice system. Basic civil rights and judicial procedures were cast aside just to satisfy the public's cry for blood and vengeance. The movie really hit me really hard for a simple reason.  

       The man in the movie, the person tagged as the "leader" of the "Chiong Seven", Paco Larrañaga.. is a friend of mine.

         I've mentioned time and time again that I grew up in Cebu, and I studied in Cebu International School. Paco was my brother's classmate, but he was actually supposed to be MY Classmate.. but I believe his English comprehension skills (Spanish was his first language when he came to our school) held him back. We weren't close or anything like that.. But Cebu is such a small place, And CIS was such a small school, that everyone pretty much knew each other. We shared a few laughs during recess (He loved telling stories), and would play basketball together during lunch break. 

      I remember playing against him one time. He was patrolling the center, and I fearlessly drove down the lane and tried to do a layup (With the operative word being "tried"). I ending up slamming right into him at full force during my attempt at a Michael Jordan-esque finger roll. I ended up bouncing off him like a laser against a mirror. Seconds later, I found myself sprawled on the ground. I looked up at him, and it seemed that the impact of me crashing into him didn't move him a single inch. Paco looked at me quizzically and asked, "Are you ok, Bai?", before helping me up. 

        I'm going to say this now.. Paco was far from a model student. He got into a lot of the Juvenile high jinx, that teenagers tend to get into.. Unfortunately he tended to get into them more often than others. Paco was a very imposing figure. His pictures don't help because one look at him, and he really does look like a bully and a troublemaker. Even the older students were intimidated by him.

      But everyone that knows him.. Anyone that was fortunate enough to call him a friend.. knows that he is a good person. I can't say that he wouldn't even harm a fly, because he did get into fights, even as he got older. But kidnapping two girls, Raping then Murdering them? I don't believe that's something that Paco Larrañaga is capable of doing.

       From the start, it was clear that Paco had no chance of hell in being acquitted.. Despite the fact that he was in Manila at the time.. and could easily prove it. But the authorities wanted nothing of it. 

With Give Up Tomorrow Producer, Marty Syjuco

      I actually saw him when he was in Manila.. Not that exact same night that the murders occurred, but I saw him at the Old San Mig bar in Greenbelt (How's THAT for a Blast From the past?), and we talked about his taking culinary classes. 

           It was incredible to see some of my friends in the film, actively participating and doing anything they could to make a difference for Paco. I'm glad I was able to watch this with my friend Nikki, another high school friend who knew Paco, and can attest to his kind heart.

     I feel sympathy for the parents of the victims, 
Mr. and Mrs. Chiong. No one should go through the pain and suffering they went through, losing not one, but two daughters who had their bright futures way ahead of them. But their crusade to put Paco in jail, despite the irrefutable evidence proving otherwise, is just wrong. She doesn't seem to understand that Paco's suffering will never bring her children back. 

     But right now, I feel more for Paco's family.. Because I know their son is innocent.

     Give Up Tomorrow will make your blood boil. You will witness with your own eyes, the blatant corruption in a system that will make you feel embarrassed that this kind of thing can happen in our beloved country. 

Please watch Give up Tomorrow.. 
Please refer to the above poster for schedules.
Hopefully more cinemas will pick up the film soon.

I pray that something like this doesn't happen to anyone, ever again. 


  1. I had to do some readings before I start typing this comment. I'm definitely sure that CCA wouldn't ruin its reputation to cover up for Paco. I hope he'll be freed soon. Gov't officials, time to use your powers.

    1. Very true Michy! They willing submitted their attendance sheet showing that paco was in indeed in class on the 16th, and the proctor was willing to testify that he was there at 8am the next day for an exam.

      All that evidence was not taken into account.

  2. i just learned about this TODAY and I heard tomorrow's the last day of viewing I hope they will extend it :( I super want to watch this

    1. I Hope you can watch it, Fran.. it's showing in Galle still... last day today! :)

  3. my sister told me to watch this film and told me the same things you mentioned. the kind of judicial system that surfaced, the ignored evidences.. wish I can watch this and see for myself.

  4. We watched this film last week.. And i was really bothered.. :( it's scary how the justice system worked during his trial and i can't believe he was found guilty even though evidences proved otherwise. I hope everyone gets to see the film.. It brought me to tears :_(

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