BREAKING: Panelo denies endorsing Sanchez’s bid for clemency: I merely referred letter
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesday denied recommending to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) to grant executive clemency for former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
“Referral of the letter asking for executive clemency to the appropriate authority is not recommendation,” Panelo said in a message sent to INQUIRER.net.
“Our office receives similar letters and we refer all them to the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) for their evaluation. Our office just do the physical act of referring the letters to the BuCor in line with the policy of President Duterte to respond to all letters addressed to the Office of the President,” he added.
During a Senate hearing also on Tuesday, BPP executive director Reynaldo Bayang said Panelo sent a letter dated February 26, 2019, on behalf of the Sanchez’s family, who sought for executive clemency for the convicted ex-Calauan mayor.
In a Palace briefing, Panelo decried as “defamatory in nature” reports saying he recommended to BPP the granting of executive clemency for Sanchez.
He said the reports were “far from the truth and we find it defamatory in nature.
“There is no part of this representation of this official communication asking for intervention,” he said.
He explained that he “left it to the discretion of the Board of Pardons and Paroles to evaluate the case of Mr. Sanchez.”
He said “it’s been the Standard Operating Procedure of the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel to respond to all, and I mean all letters received by it, and referred them to the appropriate department or agency, which has the authority to act on the writer’s concern.”
Panelo admitted that Marie Antonelvie Sanchez, daughter of the jailed Calauan mayor, wrote him a letter on February 8, 2019, seeking a recommendation letter from him for the pardon of his father.
He said “the referral letter Antonelvie Sanchez, who happened to be the daughter of former mayor Sanchez to the Board of Pardons and Parole, is just one of the thousands of referrals this office has made to various government instrumentalities. “
Panelo then said he wrote a letter to Bayang on February 26, 2019, referring the letter request of Sanchez’s daughter regarding her father’s executive clemency.
In a March 19, 2019 letter from Bayang addressed to Panelo, the BPP executive director said “the Board resolved to deny” the request of the Sanchez family.
In reply to Bayang through a letter dated April 11, 2019, Panelo acknowledged receipt of Bayang’s letter, saying he “appreciate (his) prompt response.”
“Thank you. I remain,” he said, without further comment. /kga
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