Lacson: Panelo’s role on Sanchez clemency ‘says a lot’
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s referral of the request for executive clemency lodged by the family of his former client, ex-Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, “says a lot.”
So said Senator Panfilo Lacson after it was revealed during Tuesday’s hearing in the Senate that Panelo, in a February 2019 letter, referred Sanchez’s family’s appeal for executive clemency to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP).
Panelo was one of Sanchez’s lawyers in the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez.
“I think we deserve an explanation from him (Panelo),” Lacson said. “Kung sa context ng pagiging legal officer ng Presidente ok lang ‘yan kasi tumatanggap siya ng complaints. But from the context of being the former defense counsel of Antonio Sanchez, maraming ibig sabihin noon.”
As a former lawyer of Sanchez, Panelo should have begged off from the case when the family reached out for help, said the senator.
Lacson said Panelo could not dissociate his personal relationship with the Sanchez family and his being the chief presidential counsel.
During the hearing, however, Senator Richard Gordon pointed out that despite Panelo’s referral and endorsements from other local officials, BPP still denied Sanchez’s request for clemency.
“Nagkataon lang na ganoon. Eh what if may nangyari? Let’s not talk of the consequences,” Lacson argued.
“Ang pinaguusapan dito, the mere act of intervening on behalf of the family, being the presidential legal counsel who used to be the defense counsel,” he also pointed out. /kga
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