Sotto: Antonio Sanchez case best argument for return of death penalty?
MANILA, Philippines — Could the case of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez be the best argument for the return of the death penalty?
Senate President Vicente Sotto III raised this question as the possible early release of Sanchez, a convicted rapist and murderer, along with thousands of other convicts, is being circulated in media. ,
“7 life sentences, no indemnification, hearings for parole did not inform Sarmenta family. Best argument for death penalty?,” Sotto said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
7 life sentences, no indemnification, hearings for parole did not inform sarmenta family. Best argument for death penalty?
— Tito Sotto (@sotto_tito) August 21, 2019
Sanchez was meted out with seven terms of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years of imprisonment) for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Sanchez might be released from jail soon as his “good conduct time allowance is being recomputed pursuant to the new law and a recent Supreme Court ruling.”
For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the granting of parole must also consider the “heinous nature of the crimes committed” and the “anguish, anxiety, and fear suffered by their victims.”
The senator pointed out that aside from Sanchez, a number of those recommended for release are those convicted for kidnap for ransom cases in the 1990s.
He said that kidnap victims and their families have “expressed fear of retaliation and rightly so.”
“The trauma that the victims continue to suffer cannot just be wiped out after more than 2 decades of enjoying peace and security when their abductors were arrested, detained and convicted with finality,” Lacson said in a text message to reporters on Thursday.
Lacson added that there must be offenses that should not allow convicts to avail of parole or pardon. Such offenses include crimes committed with “extreme gruesomeness” like terrorism, rape with homicide, and the like, Lacson added.
On the case of Sanchez, the senator said the grant of parole is not yet final until the President approves it.
“If the victims’ families intend to appeal, they should address the same to the President,” Lacson said. /muf
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