Palace backs DOJ: Sanchez not qualified for good conduct law
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Friday supported the claim of the Department of Justice (DOJ) that rape-slay convict former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez is not entitled to benefit from the law that shortens the prison terms of inmates through the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) system.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo pointed out that Republic Act No. 10592, which shaves years off a prisoner’s jail term for good behavior, “is categorical in excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefit of its coverage.”
Panelo once served as Sanchez’s lawyer for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and for the murder of Allan Gomez, both University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) students in 1993.
Sanchez was sentenced to serve seven 40-year prison terms along with six of his aides. He was reportedly eligible for the GCTA system which drew massive public outrage.
Panelo also expressed the Palace’s support to the Bureau of Corrections’ move to “carefully and cautiously review the GCTA of persons who have been found guilty by the courts of having committed high profile, heinous crimes or crimes so grave that show extreme moral depravity.”
While stressing that the executive branch has “no discretion” in the implementation of the GCTA, the Palace official noted that the law “still allows for the proper evaluation of inmates to ensure their proper coverage.”
“Otherwise stated, while the Executive Branch is constrained to grant the benefit of the GCTA, it will only grant it to those who are entitled to such benefit,” he said.
Panelo also welcomed lawmakers’ call to conduct hearings on Sanchez’s eligibility to the GCTA.
“We assure that responsible officials will attend the same and assist them as they endeavor to craft better penal laws that are not only fair but are also morally sound,” he said. /jpv
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