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Give Up Tomorrow (2011)

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When a teenager from a political family in the Philippines is accused of a double murder, the country's entire judicial system is put to the test after years of alleged corruption.

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Storyline

As a tropical storm beats down on the island of Cebu, two sisters leave work and never make it home... Simultaneously a murder-mystery and an exposé of endemic corruption in the Philippines today, GIVE UP TOMORROW looks intimately at the case of Paco Larrañaga, a student accused of killing two sisters in July 1997. In a way that is both specific to the country and disquietingly universal, the film exposes a Kafkaesque extravaganza populated by flamboyantly crooked public officials, cops on the take, and a frenzied legal and media circus. GIVE UP TOMORROW is also an intimate family drama focused on the near mythic struggle of two angry, sorrowful mothers who have dedicated more than a decade to executing or saving one young man. Written by Thoughtful Robot Productions

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In the face of injustice, no one is safe.


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15 June 2012 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

Bírd ki holnapig!  »

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16:9 HD
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Turning A Serial Rapist Into a Victim, And The Critics Love It!
7 January 2015 | by (New York, New York) – See all my reviews

Click "Yes" below if you are on the side of the rape victims and their family!

It almost happened before.

In September 1996, according to the Philippine Supreme Court decision G.R. Nos. 138874-75, the parents of a girl named Rochelle wrote a letter of complaint against teenager Paco Larranaga, stating that Rochelle was at the side of the road when Larranaga pulled up in a car full of teenage boys, and "grabbed Rochelle by her hand to try to get Rochelle to their vehicle. She resisted and got away from him. Sensing some people were watching what they were doing, they hurriedly sped away." Nevertheless, nothing was done because Larranaga was the son of a wealthy connected family, and the children of the rich usually get their way in the Philippines.

A few months later, Larranaga and seven of his friends raped and killed two girls, by abducting them in a van they had rented for the occasion. In an extended trial in which both sides presented hours of testimony, and numerous appeals, the Philippine courts found Paco and his friends guilty of kidnapping, rape and murder.

Although the Larranaga family lost in court, they are winners at the film festivals. Take away the exciting musical score and fast cutting, and the film boils down to this: the Philippines justice system is corrupt, and therefore Larranaga didn't rape anybody.

I am a lawyer who has often stood up for the wrongly accused. Even before I checked out the evidence for myself, I suspected that he was guilty, just from watching the movie and tuning out the hype. I think what the film goers should remember is that two innocent women were raped and killed, and they are as vulnerable to the arbitrariness of the Phil justice system as Larranaga. Several witnesses placed Larranaga in the van with the other rapists, and I think that the rich kid's army of alibi witnesses don't count for much when you check their testimony. (By the way, I am not anti-rich. My family owns a lot of land in the Philippines.)

Incredibly insulting was the conscious effort of the producers to portray Larranaga's family members as disinterested and victimized by the government, while vilifying the mother and father of the real victims to be liars who desperately want the wrong man to go to prison, based on what I thought was a nonsensical theory. The theory is that the Chiong family wants to frame Paco to prevent police from discovering that the daughters were killed by criminals who their father was doing business with.

What the gullible international audience doesn't understand is that there is no reason for a person to deflect attention in a murder investigation, because in the Philippines, most murders go unsolved. And besides, the Larranagas are claiming that a father would rather continue to do business with criminals after they raped and killed BOTH of his daughters!

I would say that this is insulting the public's intelligence, but based on the reviews, most of the public bought it. Perhaps it is just a prejudice that no one believes that the Philippine government could ever get anything right (I find it hard to believe too, but it is true in this case.) But the one place where this film was not well received was in Cebu, where the events took place. Filipinos know their system is corrupt, but they also know that their daughters are safer with the rapists in jail.

This is a very good case study for the successful use of unethical pseudo-journalistic practices in documentary filmmaking. To top it off, one of the producers is part of Larranaga's wealthy clan, and I think it would have been fairer to disclose that at the beginning, not the end, of the movie.


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