Sanchez’s drug case cited in Drilon’s call to probe ex-mayor’s eligibility for early release from prison
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday formally sought for an inquiry into the eligibility of former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, convicted for rape and murder, for an early release from prison.
In 1995, the Pasig Regional Trial convicted Sanchez and six of his henchmen for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
The court imposed the penalty of seven reclusion perpetua, each equivalent to 40 years in prison, on each of the seven men.
In filing Senate Resolution No. 106, Drilon directed the Senate justice and human rights committee to investigate Sanchez’s eligibility to benefit from Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).
Under Art. 94 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by RA 10592, “criminal liability is extinguished partially for good conduct allowances which the culprit may earn while he is undergoing preventive imprisonment or service sentence.”
Drilon’s resolution came two days after Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that more than 10,000 inmates may be freed soon pursuant to the provisions of RA 10592.
Citing section 4 of the law’s implementing rules and regulation, the senator pointed out the grant of good conduct time shall be “understood that in all instances, the detained or convicted prisoner must faithfully obey all prison/jail rules and regulations.”
But the senator, in his resolution, said the former mayor’s alleged good behavior is “questionable,” noting that Sanchez was charged with possession of illegal drugs in 2006.
“A prison guard allegedly found him to be keeping a packet of ‘shabu’ (crystal meth) and marijuana, along with other illegal drugs paraphernalia,” Drilon, who served as justice secretary when Sanchez was convicted, said.
Drilon further noted that in 2010, Sanchez was suspected to have been selling P1.5 millon worth of “shabu” to his jailmates.
Drilon then cited a provision of RA 10592 which states that “the grant of credit for preventive imprisonment shall not apply to an accused who has been convicted previously twice or more times of any crime.”
In 1999, Sanchez was convicted of double murder for the deaths of father and son Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa.
They were shot dead by Sanchez’ henchmen. Nelson was then a political leader and supporter of Sanchez’s political opponent.
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