Saguisag casts ‘reasonable doubt’ on Sanchez’ conviction
MANILA, Philippines – Former Senator Rene Saguisag on Wednesday expressed doubts on culpability of former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez in the rape and murder of University of the Philippines –Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her schoolmate, Allan Gomez in 1993.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Saguisag said that while he respects the 1999 decision of the Supreme Court affirming the conviction of Sanchez, a DNA test on samples from the rape victim would have clearly established whether or not the former mayor was guilty.
“Ang concern ko dyan (My concern is), talagang I have reasonable doubt. The family insists he’s innocent, he insists [he is] innocent — of course every criminal claims to be innocent — but I have been corroborating views from certain Lagunenses, kaya to my mind, not the issue of the GCTA [is the problem] kundi (but) was he guilty at all,” Saguisag said.
He added that while a DNA test might be too late now, he hopes something can still be done to further prove that Sanchez did commit the gruesome crime.
“In the United States, [there are] so many stories of inmates being released later because of technological advance[ment]. But I suppose we are still [in the] third world when it comes to such sophisticated technology,” he said.
Saguisag pointed out that some Laguna residents who he spoke with echoed the claim of Sanchez’ relatives that their patriarch is innocent.
“That’s my concern. Kung talagang may kasalanan or wala (If he was indeed guilty or not),” he added.
Saguisag, however, stressed that inmates convicted of heinous crimes are not covered by Republic Act 10592 allowing the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), which shortens an inmate’s prison term as a reward for showing good behavior. /gsg
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