Sotto seeks review of law that sparked fear of Sanchez’s release
MANILA, Philippines — With the implementation of a law that would allow for the possible freedom of Antonio Sanchez “being put to the test,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III has filed a resolution that would prompt appropriate Senate committees to review it.
Under Senate Resolution No. 107, Sotto said that the implementation of Republic Act 10592 increasing the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to prisoners “is now being put to the test by reason of the possible release of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.”
Sanchez was sentenced with a maximum penalty of seven reclusion perpetua, each equivalent to 40 years in prison for what Sotto described as “one of the most sensational crimes of the 1990s.”
The former mayor and six of his henchmen were convicted by the Pasig Regional Trial Court in 1995 for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her friend Allan Gomez.
Earlier, the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Justice said Sanchez was among the 11,000 national prisoners to be released in two months after a recomputation of their GCTA pursuant of RA 10592.
Last June, the Supreme Court allowed the retroactive application of the law to cover inmates convicted prior to its enactment in 2013.
GCTA is earned as a reward for an inmate’s good behavior and deducted from the jail term that a prisoner needs to serve.
“Former Mayor Sanchez’s possible release from prison pursuant to RA 10592 is now being questioned, particularly on the correctness of the computation of the GCTA and the propriety of its application to the former mayor,” Sotto’s resolution read.
This as he noted the case filed against Sanchez in 2006 for possession of illegal drugs.
Sotto also pointed out that in 2010, P1.5 million worth of shabu (crystal meth) was found in Sanchez’ prison cell.
“These acts will not entitle Mayor Sanchez for GCTA as they are considered violation of prison rules, based on the Uniform Manual on Time Allowance and Service Sentence,” he said in his resolution.
According to Sotto, “the inclusion of a provision on the forfeiture of earned GCTA in cases of commission of a crime or any violation of the law, and the conditions for entitlement to the privilege under the subject law must also be considered.”
He said that while the purpose of the said law “may be good and favorable” particularly to those “who were found guilty because they cannot afford private lawyers who can completely represent them” there would still be undeserving inmates who will benefit from it and “will receive it just the same.”
Sotto’s resolution directed the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights; Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws; and other appropriate committees “to review, in aid of legislation, the implementation of [RA 10592]…to ensure that those prisoners who truly deserve the law’s benefits shall be granted of the same.”
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