Pre-production work on Give Up Tomorrow started in 2004 when two filmmakers conducted over a hundred interviews, resulting in 400 hours of footage.
Created by Filipino producer Marty Syjuco and American director Michael Collins, Give Up Tomorrow
was produced in association with the BBC and the Sundance Documentary Film Program. It won the Audience Choice Award and a special jury mention in the world documentary competition of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.
The controversial documentary has already been shown in 25 countries before finally making its way back to the Philippines via the 8th
Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. It made its premiere in the country last July 22 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The second screening of Give Up Tomorrow
will take place at the CCP on Sunday, July 29
, at 3:30 PM.
The power of Give Up Tomorrow
lies in its ability to weave court evidence, witness accounts, media hype and legal technicalities into one comprehensive documentary.
The film tackles the incarceration of Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga for the rape and murder of the Chiong sisters. Larrañaga is a great-grandson of the late Philippine President Sergio Osmeña.
On July 16, 1997, Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong went missing. Jacqueline's body was found in a hurriedly-dug grave, while Marijoy's body was never found.
While the exact time of death and a lot of other facts were never conclusively determined, it was clear and undeniable that the sisters disappeared on July 16, 1997.
The name of Paco Larrañaga was included in a shortlist of suspects for the crime.
A scion of the prominent Osmeña clan, the then culinary student was 19 years old when he was arrested by Philippine police. Now 35 years old, Larrañaga is still imprisoned in a penal facility in Spain.
The Chiong rape-slay case was eventually described by the Supreme Court as Cebu’s trial of the century.
During the course of the trial, 42 witnesses swore that they saw Paco on July 16 while the crime was allegedly happening in Cebu. His teachers, classmates and other staff members of his culinary school gave sworn statements that Paco was with them in Quezon City on July 16.
After attending classes and an exam, he was also with them to a party, which even had a photograph of him. The classmate who took the photo did so because his mom wanted him to “finish the roll of film.”
All these evidence place Paco 300 miles away from Cebu on the day of the crime.
Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo refused to have the 42 or so witnesses willing to testify.
As a young child, Paco did not have a criminal record. The worst trouble that he ever got in were minor fights that boys of his age got in. The only witness ever produced by the prosecution was David Rusia, one of the co-accused who wanted blanket immunity in exchange for his testimony. It turns out that Rusia was already convicted of burglary and forgery and other crimes in the United States.
According to Rusia’s testimony, Aznar and Adlawan were the ones who seized Jacqueline and Marijoy while the sisters were waiting for a ride home at the Ayala Center Cebu. Paco and the rest allegedly dumped the bodies in a ravine.
Rusia’s testimony goes against school records, including flight and passenger logs, which places Larrañaga in Manila on the 16th
and arriving in Cebu on the 17th
On May 5, 1999, Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Martin Ocampo found the seven guilty of kidnapping and illegal detention, and sentenced them to two life terms, instead of death.