GMA  TRIP  TO  EUROPE  STILL  ON

MANILA
, NOVEMBER 30, 2007 (STAR) President Arroyo will push through with her trip to Spain and London in spite of the latest attempt to oust her from office, Malacañang said yesterday.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a press conference that she would push through with her scheduled departure tomorrow with France as the first stop of her eight-day trip to Europe.

National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said despite mopping up operations by authorities, the capital is returning to normalcy and stability.

“We have surmounted a serious situation. I don’t think we should allow this distraction to stop work that is vital for international relations,” Gonzales said.

Her trip to Spain was for a state visit while she is scheduled to meet the Queen in London.

Mrs. Arroyo is scheduled to make a private visit to Lourdes, France on Sunday where she is expected to attend a Mass at the Chapele de la Reconciliation in the morning and have lunch with the local clergy.

She is expected to leave Lourdes after lunch for Madrid, to arrive at around 4 p.m. In the evening she would be meeting with the Filipino community.

On Monday, she is scheduled to visit the Spanish Senate at noon. From there, Mrs. Arroyo would have a private lunch with King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Arroyo is scheduled to meet with other Spanish officials as well as potential investors. By evening, she will have a meeting with Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

The next day, she will proceed to the Basque province and meet with the Basque government.

She will leave on Wednesday night for London where is expected to arrive at around 7 p.m.

On Thursday, she is scheduled to have a breakfast meeting with some business leaders to be followed by a set of interviews with journalists. – Paolo Romero

Mom of Chiong sisters to seek GMA’s help on possible release of killer Friday, November 30, 2007

 The mother of the Chiong sisters who were murdered in Cebu City more than 10 years ago will stop one of the convicted killers of her daughters from benefiting from a treaty with Spain for the repatriation of prisoners.

Francisco “Paco” Larrañaga, one of the convicted killers of Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong, is a Spanish national.

Thelma Chiong said she will ask the help of President Arroyo to ensure that Larrañaga will not benefit from the Treaty in the Transfer of Sentenced Persons between the Philippines and Spain.

“I hope Paco will not be singled out,” she told radio station dyLA in Cebu City. “I hope he would not be able to avail of the treaty’s benefits.”

Chiong, an official of Crusade Against Violence, said she will ask Mrs. Arroyo not to allow Larrañaga to avail of the treaty.

She will also write a letter to the different religious organizations to help her lobby against Larrañaga’s benefiting from the treaty, she added.

They have written to several senators in a futile attempt to stop the Senate from ratifying the treaty with Spain, Chiong said.

The Senate ratified the treaty last Monday.

Senate Resolution 212, sponsored by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, seeks to repatriate a Filipino imprisoned in Spain and a Spaniard serving time in a Philippine prison to allow them to complete their sentences in their countries.

Larrañaga, along with six others, was convicted of the abduction, rape and murder of the Chiong sisters on July 16, 1997.

Margarita Larrañaga, Paco’s mother, said her son intends to avail of the treaty as soon as they obtain a copy of the implementing rules and regulations.

They have asked the Spanish government to help free her son, on grounds that he is innocent, she added.

Margarita Larrañaga appealed to Thelma Chiong to “look into her heart” how difficult it is for her as a mother to see her son imprisoned, when “he is innocent.”

Paco has been in jail for more than 10 years.

The six others convicted of the Chiong rape-murders are: Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Cano, Ariel Balansag, James Anthony Uy and his brother James Andrew.

Cebu City Rep. Antonio Cuenco, who heads the House committee on foreign affairs, said that the treaty has to pass through the House of Representatives for budget allocation before it can be implemented. – Fred Languido/Freeman News Service


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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