Actor Niño Muhlach who once portrayed Francisco Juan “Paco” Larrañaga in ABS-CBN’s “Calvento Files” apologized to Larrañaga after watching the “Give Up Tomorrow” documentary.
The actor recalled his role in the crime and investigation show, saying that he now felt “guilty” after playing Larrañaga’s character who was portrayed as a “drug-crazed maniac.”
Muhlach wrote in Facebook:
“As an actor, I was asked to portray Paco as a drug-crazed maniac. But after watching GIVE UP TOMORROW, it made me feel guilty for putting him in a bad light.”
“We all know the truth by now! Let’s stand up and fight for the injustice that Paco & the rest of the Chiong 7 had to suffer! #freePacoNow”
The “Chiong 7” is the term used to refer to the seven men accused of abducting and raping Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong.
Apart from Larrañaga, they are Jozman Aznar, Rowen Wesley Adlawan, Alberto Allan “Pahak” Cano, Ariel Balansag, James Andrew “MM” Uy and James Anthony Uy.
Recalling the ‘Calvento Files’ episode
“Calvento Files” was a crime and investigation program that aired from 1995 to 1998. It was hosted by broadcast journalist Tony Calvento.
The program was of a documentary-drama type that reenacted several cases, one of which was the infamous Chiong sisters case.
The particular episode showed the events that led up to the tragedy, where Muhlach was assigned the role of Larrañaga. Larrañaga was depicted as the one who fully orchestrated the crime.
He was also portrayed as a drug addict, although there are no verified reports that he was taking illegal substances at that time.
The episode solely relied on the media’s exaggerated and inaccurate depiction of Larrañaga and the others accused — in an extremely negative perspective.
Petition to reopen case
Currently, there is an online petition that calls for the controversial case to be opened once again, explaining Muhlach’s “#FreePacoNow” hashtag.
It urged the Supreme Court and President Rodrigo Duterte to review the case with the belief that Larrañaga — along with the others accused — are innocent.
It gained traction after the movie “Jacqueline Comes Home” began screening in cinemas. It tackles the events of the case from the Chiongs’ perspective.