By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
October 10, 2012
NEW YORK – After watching the controversial documentary “Give Up Tomorrow” on PBS last Sunday, a group of Filipinos were moved to action, to find out what they can do to help Paco Larranaga who is currently languishing in jail in Spain for a crime he claims he did not commit.
Larranaga was only 19-years-old when he was convicted of the murder of the Chiong sisters in Cebu back in 1997.
The documentary gave viewers not only a glimpse of the Philippine judicial process back then, but it also made many viewers question if Larranaga was indeed innocent.
“Last week, the entire week, public television in the United States showed this documentary of Paco Larranaga, Give Up Tomorrow, after seeing it so many of us at arms that an innocent man, not only him, seven innocent men were imprisoned for a crime they did not commit,” Community leader Loida Nicolas Lewis said.
“It would take a lot of patience, clemency from the President (Aquino), and if not perhaps a new trial, re-open the trial, and a new task force and it would also put the Philippines in the right direction in terms of what is justice and what is rule of law,” Paco Larranaga’s cousin, Stephanie Osmena said.
It took PBS to stir these Filipinos into action — it played a big role in their new advocacy.
Community Leader Joe Ramos has been tuning in to PBS for thirty years now and he even contributes monetary donations annually to help keep the public TV station alive.
“If not for PBS, this documentary would not have seen by the public,” Ramos said, “So I hope, should Romney win, he’s going to continue with the PBS and support it.”
PBS is home to many educational shows like “Sesame Street” but it’s also home to POV, the longest running showcase for independent films that put a human face on contemporary issues around the world.
Give Up Tomorrow is not the first Filipino documentary aired on POV and POV is seen by over 97% of the American viewing public.
“POV for one is well known for giving voice to otherwise non-mainstream voices, previously it showed the film ‘The Learning’ by Filipino-American Ramona Diaz’s plight of the Filipino teachers in Baltimore, Maryland and that was very revealing.” PBS supporter Christopher Fallarme said.
“Simply because PBS does not bring too much money for big business, but there is something that PBS is doing that no big business is doing, what is that? Reach Out! In a very very benign way to other people outside America, through its shows,” another PBS viewer and supporter Merit Salud said.
Now available on the PBS website, www.pbs.org/pov/, the group is hoping that the more people watch the documentary “Give Up Tomorrow,” the more support Paco Larranaga would get to advocate for his freedom.