Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Give Up Tomorrow

October 9, 2012

Before watching this movie, I was actually apprehensive. It was an unusual feeling for someone who watches movies frequently. "Give Up Tomorrow" is not a film of fiction, you see. It is a documentary about a notorious convicted rapist and murderer, involved in a sensationally gruesome crime story. This film, produced by someone in this person's extended family, will try to convince us that this guy, Paco Larranaga, was actually an innocent man, and is now unjustly behind bars for the rest of his productive life.

What I know of this case was what I gathered while skimming the newspapers or what I hear on the news over the years. Paco's physical appearance, that of a hefty, brusque, seemingly arrogant rich young man, certainly did not help his image in the public. The case resurfaced recently when the Spanish government sought to intervene in the fate of this Spanish citizen. This perceived foreign interference in our justice system also did not sit very well with the Filipino people. The Larranaga family really had everything going against them.

Of course, before going in, I had already expected this film to try to convince its viewers that all of what the general public knows from the news headlines was NOT the whole story. Important conflicting evidences were presented from the first few minutes.. As expected too, the uneven police investigation, the questionable star witness and the irregular court behavior of the presiding judge were also shown. They also showed how the Spain government got involved in the case. All of these important information had been previously unheard of, as far as I, an uninvolved outsider, was concerned.

The most controversial points of this film were those that seemed to turn the tables on the parents of the victims themselves. Are Dionisio and Susan Chiong really the just the unfortunate, devastated parents of poor Jackie and Marijoy? This film seeks to shatter that commonly-held public perception. The film tells us about previously unknown connections to Malacanang and other shady dealings. How did the filmmakers get that ironic statement of Mrs. Chiong at the end on film? How the Chiongs were presented here was far from unbiased.

This is certainly an eye-opening film. Everyone suspects that the local justice system may be murky, but here was a story told from the inside by a family who seemed to have experienced the worse end of the stick. The argument as presented by the film is truly well-organized and convincing. Having respected multi-media journalist Solita Monsod there on their side lends further credence to their position.  But again, we have to keep in mind that we are again only hearing from one side. The producer discloses in the film's publicity and at the end of the film that he is related to the Larranagas. Whether the audience believes what this film is trying to say is still up to them. People who like to think and discuss after watching films should watch this one. Should we now think twice about all of these stories we hear in the news?


UPDATE (07/21/2018):

Here is the whole documentary "Give Up Tomorrow" uploaded by Rappler on Youtube five days ago.


  1. It would be interesting to know how the justice system works behind the confides of the courtroom and the process by which a person is convicted.

  2. Thank goodness, you now have a blogger account. LOL.

    However, this movie does not interest at all. I'm done with this whole story when the witness already spilled the beans. I forgot his name, was it Adlawan? I'm not sure but I remember he was good-looking and was behind bars too where he suffered great tormet from the haunting souls of the victims. When we talk about souls, there is no way the verdict should be overturned. I know it's too much of a parapsychology to be dealt by the legality of the justice system, but come on. I believe that Osmena-related boy who's now living as a normal citizen in Spain is as shady as his clan and political relatives here in Cebu.

  3. We can't rely on justice system for the sake of scrutinizing the truth, system tend to rationalized between influential and innocent victims. Both parties defend itself for vindication. It all falls now, how honest and creidible the system from the people who runs it.

    Daryll/Green Dei

  4. Itin! I was hoping you'd read and comment since you are from Cebu! According to the movie, the star witness name was David Rusia. Mrs. Chiong was heard saying that they had transformed his image. As for your last comment, according to this film too, Larranaga is in Spain, but NOT living as a normal citizen.

  5. I am not aware of this case. Maybe because I have no television or newspaper access (by choice). My news comes from the internet news or blogs I read like this one.

    Anyway, if this movie is supposed to be a response to the bad image portrayed by the media to the convicted rapist then I guess the family of the prisoner has a right to air their views (pun intended).

    However, it still does not discount the fact that a crime was committed and someone has to take responsibility for that. If the family thinks that their relative was wrongly accused then they should provide evidence that supports it. Assumptions and theories of conspiracy will not get you anywhere. A man has to be proven guilty by the law and to overturn that conviction there should be no reasonable doubt to his innocence.

  6. Hi Ia. This is an old case. The crime happened in 1997. This movie does provide evidence in their favor. But yes, it tends to also resort to bringing up coincidences and conspiracies. Hard to call, really. I do not envy the judges.

  7. I will definitely be checking this movie. Thanks Fred for sharing this up. Hope its worth watching

  8. I will definitely check this one out. My prayer that with all the things people can do to turn things around in the courtroom, the truth will be that will prevail.

    Jennie of