In 2007, Santiago said that the TSPA will benefit Filipinos who are imprisoned abroad, in this case Spain. At the time that the treaty was signed in the Senate, there were seven prisoners out of the 50,000 Filipinos working and living in Spain.
There are also similar treaties with Canada, Cuba, Thailand, and Hong Kong.
Mrs. Chiong, however, is convinced that the treaty would single out convicted rapist Larrañaga, arguing that there are other countries where more Filipinos could benefit from a similar treaty.
“Why Spain? Why is the Philippines so desperate to come up with this kind of treaty with Spain, to the point that we are the one who initiated in drafting the treaty? Are there a significant number of Filipinos incarcerated in Spain that something should be done about it?” Mrs. Chiong pointed out.
“What about Singapore? What about Saudi Arabia where many Filipinos are being flogged and executed? Why are we not making any treaty with these countries?” she added.
Mrs. Chiong suspects that there is an influential person behind the hasty implementation of the treaty, noting that to this day, no implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that will govern the procedure of the transfer had been prepared.
“And yet, they are already ready to implement the treaty,” she said, adding that since the resolution was approved in the Senate, she had gotten copies of both the resolution and the speech delivered by Santiago. However, Mrs. Chiong still has to get a copy of the IRR, that is if such a document exists.
Mrs. Chiong at one of her daughter’s grave. (Photo by Ritche T. Salgado / bulatlat.com)
“There is so much power play behind this treaty. They really did it. They really looked for ways just so the transfer will take place,” she said. “And I hate the denial of Malacañang that they have ‘no hand’ in this.”
“This is a country-to-country agreement. Don’t tell me the President has nothing to do with this,” she asserted.
“Today, justice was denied from me. Our judiciary has given me justice; Arroyo’s government took that away from me. They have destroyed the legal system. They are looking for ways to destroy the justice system for the rest of Filipinos, because justice is only for the rich,” she said, citing as examples convicted rapist and former congressman Romeo Jalosjos.
“She released the people who killed Ninoy, and for what? To cause grief to Cory and the Aquino family?” she added, referring to the president.
“I don’t deny that Paco Larrañaga is from the Osmeña clan. He is the nephew of a senator, mayor, governor and councilor here in Cebu City. He is politically connected, so we can’t say for certain that his relatives or Malacañang has nothing to do with this,” Mrs. Chiong said, adding that she is disappointed with Press Secretary Cerge Remonde, who used to rally behind her while the case was being tried. “Now, he is denying Malacañang’s involvement in this matter.”
A Mother’s Plea
Mrs. Chiong has accepted that the transfer will really take place, but she said she is willing to make a compromise if she would be given assurance by Spain and the Philippine government that Larrañaga will indeed finish his sentence there.