Some senators express shock over Sanchez’s impending release
MANILA, Philippines—Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon wants the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) investigated by the Senate over the impending release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
Drilon was the Justice secretary when Sanchez was convicted for rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta, and also the killing of her friend, Allan Gomez.
Sarmenta and Gomez were students of the University of the Philippines Los Baños when the crimes were committed in 1993.
The former mayor was among the more than 10,000 inmates that may be freed soon in accordance with Republic Act 10592 or the law that increased the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) given to prisoners.
But this came as a surprise to Drilon.
“Nagulat po ako noong sinabi nila na dahilan sa good conduct allowance ay pwede nang palayin,” he said in an interview over Bombo Radyo on Thursday.
But how can Sanchez be given allowance for good conduct and behavior when he was reportedly involved illegal drug trade even inside the prison? the senator asked.
“Ang balita pa natin ay mayroon siyang aircon sa kaniyang kulungan. Paano naman naging good conduct ito?” Drilon further asked.
“Ating aalamin sa Senado, mag-file ako ng resolution at hihingi ako ng imbestigasyon at alamin kung tama ba ang ginagawa ng BPP tungkol dito,” he added.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, called on the correction officials “to prudently review and determine who truly deserve and are qualified to have their jail terms reduced.”
While she agreed with the retroactive application of Republic Act 10592, Hontiveros expressed her strong objection on reducing Sanchez’s jail term.
“Sanchez has shown no signs of remorse and displayed no effort at improving himself in behavior or character inside the penitentiary. In fact, even inside prison, he has continued committing crimes with impunity,” she said in a statement.
“How can Sanchez qualify for good conduct when he was reportedly caught with P1.5 million worth of shabu hidden in a religious statue in his cell in 2010? How does he qualify for good behavior when he was enjoying VIP perks such as an airconditioning unit and a flat-screen TV, also in his cell in 2015? These are not the acts of a reformed and repentant inmate,” Hontiveros added.
To free an unrepentant criminal, who refuses to take responsibility for his brutal crimes and has even committed new and serious crimes while serving time is not “restorative justice,” the senator said.
“It is a mockery of justice and itself a crime,” Hontiveros further said. /jpv
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