Bayan Muna wants Panelo to attend congressional probes on GCTA law
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo should also be called on Senate and House of Representatives hearings on the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, particularly the release of convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez.
This was insisted by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite on Tuesday as both chambers of Congress held separate hearings on the GCTA law.
Gaite said Panelo’s referral of Sanchez’s request of executive clemency to the Boards of Pardons and Parole (BPP) could be interpreted as “intervention to act favorably on the application of early release of his [Panelo] former client.”
“The act was unconscionable even if it was only a referral letter because his letter is no ordinary missive. As presidential legal counsel and spokesperson, it definitely carries weight and he has the ear of the president to boot,” Gaite said in a statement.
“Sec. Panelo should really explain his part on this issue,” he added.
Panelo earlier denied involvement in Sanchez’s case, saying he does “not intrude nor poke my finger into any matter that’s not within the mandate of my office.”
Panelo admitted that he met with the family of Sanchez in his office in Malacañang but insists he never had “personal communication” with them.
Panelo served as one of Sanchez’s legal counsels when the former mayor was being tried and eventually convicted in 1995 for the 1993 rape-slay of UP-Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez in Laguna. /muf
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