As a tropical storm beats down on the Philippine island of Cebu, two sisters leave work and never make it home. That same night, hundreds of miles away in Manila on a different island, Paco Larrañaga, 19, is at a party, surrounded by dozens of reliable witnesses. The missing women, Marijoy, 21, and Jacqueline Chiong, 23, are Chinese-Filipinos, a group that is considered part of the Filipino underclass. Paco, accused of their rapes and murders, is part of a prominent political clan that includes a former president. The award-winning GIVE UP TOMORROW exposes a Kafkaesque extravaganza populated by flamboyantly corrupt public officials, cops on the take, and a frenzied legal and media circus. It is also an intimate family drama focused on the near mythic struggle of two angry and sorrowful mothers who have dedicated more than a decade to executing or saving one young man.
The story of culinary student Paco Larranaga, who, at 19 years old in 1997, was arrested for the kidnap, rape, and murder of two sisters on the provincial island of Cebu in the Philippines. Despite demonstrable evidence of his innocence, including 40 eyewitnesses and photographs placing him hundreds of miles from the scene, Paco's legal ordeal was only just beginning. Dubbed the Philippines' "trial of the century," Paco's ordeal became a galvanizing focal point in a far-reaching expose of gross miscarriage of justice at the highest levels.
Following the case and its aftermath for more than a decade, the film traces Paco's story from the ethnic and class tensions at its roots, through a distracting thread of tabloid sensationalism, and ultimately to appeals and interventions from foreign governments and NGOs as the injustice of Paco's situation becomes ever more stark and undeniable.