Paco’s case was effectively closed in 2005 with the Philippine Supreme Court’s final decision to uphold Paco’s conviction. However, a political decision taken by Philippine President Macapagal Arroyo in 2006 repealed the death penalty and Paco’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
With Paco’s transfer to Spain, the Philippines retains the power to overturn his conviction, but Spain becomes responsible for the enforcement of his sentence. This means that Spain has the power to determine whether Paco should be eligible for life in an open prison or even out on parole. However, Paco remains behind bars.
When the courts of democratic nations disregard the evidence before them, and willfully neglect their duty of care to the individual and to justice as a whole, then it is time to call on the help of elected members of government to intervene.
Please use the website FreePacoNow.com to call on your elected representatives in the European Parliament and the President of Spain. The more people call for justice, the sooner Paco will be free!
Sarah de Mas was formerly Deputy Director of Fair Trials Abroad, and Chairman of the European Criminal Lawyers Advisory Board. She now works as international expert on access to justice.