Give Up Tomorrow
What the Cynic in Me Expected: I honestly had no expectations for this.
What Actually Happened: A true crime docu that stabs at the heart of the ailing Philippine justice system. A must watch.
I vaguely remember the Chiong Murder Case back in the nineties. Two sisters in Cebu were kidnapped, raped then killed by a number of unknown men. In the face of sheer public indignation, the police rounded up a number of suspects, among them Paco Larranaga. I remember seeing his face as he was being led to the court. I remember the cheap dramatization of the case with Nino Mulach as Larranaga.
I thought back then that he was guilty. But seeing this film made me realize that the world doesn't paint things as black and white as we see in the media.
Covering the years between his arrest, his trial and imprisonment, Give Up Tomorrow weaves a tale of corruption and injustice like a yarn spun straight out of Kafka's The Trial. In the face of intense negative public and media attention, and powerful backers on the side of the prosecution, this man and six others are sentenced to life in prison for their role in a crime they may not have committed. Interspersed are segments by the media regarding the case, some offering an objective viewpoint; others, not so much, most memorably Teddy Locsin Jr's advice to the convicted not to drop the soap.
Appeal after appeal comes, but the verdict is the same. During the trial, evidence that clearly exonerates the accused is dismissed; dubious testimony from others is considered set in stone. In the screening for this film, you can feel the indignation from the audience from every single wrongdoing that occurs.
This is no mere miscarriage of justice, it is an abortion, blades spinning, carving up and destroying the lives of these men who have not gained the chance at due process. One, on the other hand, could argue that maybe some of them did do the crime. But this film shows that it was never proven the proper way.
The film's title comes from an interview from Larranaga who has more or less accepted his fate to be imprisoned for a very long time (this was after he was sentenced to death, with a repeal of the death penalty reducing his sentence). He talks about living his everyday life for today, deciding that if he'd give up, he'd rather do so tomorrow.
Although screened in many film festivals abroad, this is the first time the film has ever been screened in the Philippines. This film needs to be seen by people, everywhere. And perhaps we can see this film not just as something that can help in the reopening of this case, but also a way to see how rotten our justice system has become. The scary thing about it? This can happen to anyone. Even you and me.
spewed out of the mind of John T/hfolkner at 1:22 AM