Discussion Guide

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This could be a fictional thriller—a who-done-it with an intriguing cast of characters. But it is very real. In 1997, as a tropical storm beat down on an island in the Philippines, the Chiong sisters left work and never made it home. Paco Larrañaga, a 19-year-old student, was arrested, tried and sentenced to death for their rape and murder, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

Give Up Tomorrow documents Larrañaga’s controversial trial — one of the most sensational ever in the Philippines. The film’s examination of the proceedings strips the veneer of raw emotions to reveal shocking corruption. For more than a decade, two grieving mothers find themselves entangled in a case that ends a nation’s use of capital punishment but fails to free an innocent man.

The filmmakers draw the audience into a straightforward, yet complex, journey that examines prison conditions, coerced confessions, hints of political favors, media sensationalism and the boundaries of international law. Uncomfortably, viewers are left to ponder the impact on individuals, families, communities and a nation when a system that is supposed to deliver justice does the opposite.

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