Jacqueline Comes Home is a true crime film by Philippine production company Viva Films that is set to premiere tomorrow. But instead of getting the good kind of buzz, it has angered many who say it contains false information about an already controversial case.
The film tells the story of what has been known as the Chiong Murder Case which involves the kidnap, rape, and murder of sisters Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong in Cebu back in 1997.
Central to the case was a man named Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga, who was then 19 years old and is part of a prominent family.
He was convicted of murder along with seven other co-defendants who were believed to have committed the crime as a group. Because Larrañaga holds a dual citizenship in the Philippines and Spain, he is currently serving his life sentence in the Madrid Central Penitentiary where he was transferred to in 2009.
This is where the controversy comes in.
Many believe Larrañaga is innocent and say that he was in Quezon City, Metro Manila when the incident occurred. This was part of his defense and was tackled again in the 2011 documentary Give Up Tomorrow, which aims to prove Larrañaga’s innocence.
Give Up Tomorrow was produced by Marty Syjuco, a distant relative of Larrañaga.
With the premiere of Jacqueline Comes Home coming up, many have called for its boycott and have encouraged others to watch Give Up Tomorrow instead.
“BOYCOTT Jaqueline Comes Home, Watch Give Up Tomorrow. Rage!!!” wrote Marlina Santiago Carlos in a Facebook post on Sunday.
In the post, she compared Jacqueline Comes Home to Give Up Tomorrow. She said the upcoming film will be “based on the false testimony of a convicted felon. Will recreate events that never happened. I don’t want to support this film in any way possible.”
She then described that documentary as “Based on facts, will show the screwed up Philippine justice system. Will show the story of a boy illegally arrested at 19 and wrongfully convicted at 21, sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit.”
Carlos’ post resonated with many who are familiar with the case and has gotten 26,000 reactions, more than 26,000 shares, and more than 1,000 comments.
In another Facebook post yesterday, Jourdan Sebastian wrote: “If you love ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts’ you will love ‘Jacqueline Goes Home’. Probably one of the most imaginative films of our time.”
In the post, Sebastian said that he was with Larrañaga in a bar in Quezon City when the murder allegedly happened.
“[H]e was with me and more than 15 of our friends in Katipunan, Quezon City when the supposed crime in Cebu happened,” Sebastian said.
“So it was impossible for him to do what this film is presenting,” he added, referring to the film Jacqueline Comes Home.
Sebastian also pointed people to Give Up Tomorrow and told them to watch it instead.
“By the way, because of the lies being perpetuated against him, Paco lost his youth inside prison and is still suffering as a convicted criminal in Spain,” Sebastian wrote towards the end of his Facebook post. “If you want to consume bullshit… watch this film. If you want the truth watch the docu.”
His post now has more than 1,000 reactions and more than 700 shares.
Yesterday, news website Rappler even aired Give Up Tomorrow on Facebook live.
Many have also criticized Jacqueline Comes Home on Twitter and suggested to watch Give Up Tomorrow instead.
— Tyrll Adolf (@TaTyrll) July 9, 2018
While many are convinced by Give Up Tomorrow‘s stance, the Chiong sisters’ mother, Thelma Chiong has called it “fiction.”
In report from Sun Star Cebu on Sunday, she said she was saddened by people’s comments on the case online.
“Many netizens who support the notion that there was a mistrial were born before the Chiong case started or were too young. I am saddened by this because it not only opens wounds on my part but also on my family who has suffered so much since this case started,” Chiong said in Cebuano.
She said she hopes Jacqueline Comes Home could clarify allegedly false reports on the case.