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Film Comparative Analysis “The general response following the screening was a distinct realization that nobody is above the law, and that the stereotypes associated with the “cono” nearly left Larranaga guilty as mistakenly charged. ” (Syjuco, 2012) There is no justice, when innocent men are in jail; this is the main idea that the two films have in common. With this, let us ask ourselves, “Is there really something wrong with the Philippine and Texas justice system? Are we to admit that it is a corrupt system that we have? These two films will leave our eyes wide opened to the truth or if not, to the flaws and corruptions in the justice system, not only of our own country, but also that of the others.
I. Background Give Up Tomorrow The documentary film is about a Filipino-Spanish student named Paco Larranaga, who was sentenced to death in 2004 for the double murder and rape of Chiong sisters (Marijoy and Jacqueline) in 1997.
This is the story of what we now know as the Chiong Murder Case, a cebu scandal of the century.
Two Chiong sisters go missing on July 16, 1997. Larranaga was one, along with six other suspects who was pinpointed by the state witness, David Rusia. David Rusia is a convicted felon and was sentenced to prison twice in the United States for other crimes. As claimed by Rusia, he was with Larranaga in Ayala Center, Cebu early in the evening of July 16, that evening Larranaga says that he was at R&R Restaurant in Quezon City with his friends; such fact was proven by photographs and the testimonies of his friends.
The defense presented thirty-five witnesses, including Larranaga’s teachers and classmates at the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) in Quezon City, who all testified under oath that Larranaga was in Quezon City, when the crime is said to have taken place in Cebu. The trial court considered these testimonies irrelevant, rejecting these as coming from “friends of the accused,” and were not admitted. The following are also evidences presented by the defense during trial — a)Larranaga, at that time was at a party at the R&R Restaurant along Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City, and stayed there until early morning the following day. )After the party, the logbook of the security guard at Larranaga’s condominium indicates that Larranaga returned to his Quezon City condominium at 2:45 a. m. c)Rowena Bautista, an instructor and chef at the culinary center, said Larranaga was in school from 8 a. m. to 11:30 a. m. and saw him again at about 6:30 p. m on July 16. d)The school’s registrar, Caroline Calleja, said she proctored a two-hour exam where Larranaga was present from 1:30 p. m. Larranaga attended his second round of midterm exams on July 17 commencing at 8 a. m. Only then did Larranaga leave for Cebu in the late afternoon of July 17, 1997. )Airline and airport personnel also came to court with their flight records, indicating that Larranaga did not take any flight on July 16, 1997, nor was he on board any chartered aircraft that landed in or departed from Cebu during the relevant dates, except the 5 p. m. PAL flight on July 17, 1997 from Manila to Cebu The aforementioned evidences did not prevent the conviction of Larranaga along with his six co-accused. The trial court judge, after rendering judgment against them, was found dead in a hotel in Cebu, and allegedly committed suicide.
This unexpected event during the Chiong murder case was proven in the film to be part of the whole scheme of putting the blame on Larranaga, and concealing the truth of the facts with regard to the murder and rape of the Chion sisters. Larranaga, along with the other co-accused were sentenced to death, and appealed later on, but all of them were denied. Considering the Filipino-Spanish nationality of Larranaga, his family asked for help from the Spanish government. In September 2009, the Department of Justice approved Larranaga’s transfer to a Spanish prison.
Thelma Chiong, the mother of the victims, expressed shock over the decision, saying that, despite Larranaga’s Spanish citizenship, “If you committed a crime in the Philippines, you are jailed in the Philippines,” despite the fact that this would constitute a breach of the treaty and thus of international law. Larranaga, escorted by two Spanish Interpol agents, left for Spain on October 6, 2009. His good behavior at the New Bilibid Prison was taken into consideration, and he will serve the rest of his sentence at the Madrid Central Penitentiary at Soto del Real. The Thin Blue Line
The film is an investigation into the 1976 murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood. Harris testified that Adams had shot and killed Wood after their car had been pulled over on their way home from a movie. Adams claimed to know nothing of the murder, insisting that Harris had dropped him at his home two hours before it occurred. Local authorities believed Harris, and witnesses corroborated his story, leading to Adams’ conviction and a death sentence, (which was later on changed). Randall Adams recalls the events in detail: after running out of gas, he had been picked up by Harris in a stolen car.
The two had gone to a movie where they drank beer and smoked marijuana, and this was the extent of their relationship. David Harris, on the other hand, also recalls the events of the evening in detail, but creates a much different impression. Adam’s defense attorneys thought that Harris was the killer, pointing to his past criminal record and other crimes committed the night of the murder. The film presents a series of interviews about the investigation and reenactments of the shooting, based on the testimony and recollections of Adams, Harris, and various witnesses and detectives. Two attorneys who epresented Adams at the trial where he was convicted of capital murder also appear: they suggest that Adams was charged with the crime despite the better evidence against Harris because, as Harris was a juvenile, Adams alone of the two could be sentenced to death under Texas law. II. Similarities and Differences The two films both dealt on the fact that there is a corrupt justice system. That even an innocent man can be put into jail all for the sake of concealing the truth. This idea is very obvious in the films presented, that even a man of little knowledge with the law will doubt the guilt of both, Larranaga and Adams.
The idea brought up by the filmmakers of both was a frame up or cover up which lead to the conviction of innocent people. The very controlling authorities in both were the police officers, the judge, and other executive officers of the government and to add, the media, influencing the course of the trial and the impression of the masses on the suspects. In both, police authorities were overwhelmed with the idea of having someone to put the blame for the murder of the victims. They were like heroes of the public for having solved the case and found a suspect. In which, it is very obvious that it was politically motivated.
As one of the differences between the case of Larranaga and Adams, is that of having exhausted all administrative remedies. Larranaga, after being convicted in the trial court, appealed to the Supreme Court, but was not able to attain a favourable judgment. After such, taking into consideration of the dual citizenship of Larranaga, they asked for the help of Spanish government so that the death penalty be withdrawn and let him be transferred in Spain where he will serve his sentence. This however paved the way for the abolishment of death penalty by former Pres.
Gloria Arroyo and the approval of Larranaga’s transfer. The cases of Larranaga and Adams both involved rights which were violated. As declared under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the following are those evidently violated in the course of the whole trial of the case, (a) Article 11, par. 1, (b) Article 9 and (c) Article 10. •Article 11, par. 1 Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
In light of this article which pertains to the right of an accused to be presumed innocent, Larranaga was outrightly charged as a criminal in the minds of the people, especially those of the Cebuanos, even before a trial was held. Aggravating this situation was the participation of the media from the start up to the end of the case, tagged as the “trial of the decade”. The impressions that were made by the police authorities and the media, contributed to the image of Larranaga as guilty of the crime charged.
His identity was corroborated as a rich bad boy/gangster from a prominent family, in which the people presumed that they will make use of their resources to pay for witnesses and manipulate the whole case and avoid prosecution. As to the case of Adams, he was made fit to the image of a cop-killer as compared to Harris. The prosecution relied on the testimony of Harris that it was Adams who killed Wood, even before the start of the case, they knew already who to convict. The fact that Harris was a juvenile that time, made it more likely for Adams to commit the crime thus moving away from the presumption of his innocence. Article 9 No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile. The course of Larranaga’s arrest came swift and unexpected and appeared to him as kidnapping. The people who arrested him were all in civilian clothes, though they looked like policemen. They did not identify themselves when they arrested Larranaga, until they were asked by Larranaga’s sister. They unlawfully arrested Larranaga due to absence of warrant of arrest, in defense, they said that he committed a continuing crime.
As to Adams’ case, he was taken into the custody of the police few days after the commission of the crime. He was forced to sign a document containing an admission that he was the one who murdered Wood. The policeman even threatened him with a pistol if he will not sign it. There is no sufficient cause for his guilt. •Article 10 Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
The right to a fair and speedy trial was not accorded to Larranaga, first, the media had participated a lot in drawing the image of Larranaga as the criminal. The judge also showed his impartiality which was really unexplainable. After having refused to accept the testimonies of witnesses of Larranaga, preventing him to take the witness stand and rendered a judgment of double life imprisonment, the judge was found in a hotel dead. Through the series of events that had transpired, the fairness and impartiality of the trial cannot be said to be present.
As in the case of Adams, it cannot be said to have been a fair trial for him because the prosecution presented fake witnesses, in which the conviction was based. There is a biased judgment and inconsideration on the merits of the case. Adams was not able to defend himself, such conviction of him was predicated on the failure of his defense lawyer to clearly establish his innocence albeit all the frame-ups that had transpired. References: http://www. centerforsocialmedia. org/sites/default/files/documents/pages/interview_transciption_giveuptomorrow. pdf http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/The_Thin_Blue_Line_(film)