PACC: No basis to investigate Panelo’s referral of Sanchez’ clemency request
MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) sees no basis and need, so far, to launch an investigation on Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s move to refer the letter of rape and murder convict Antonio Sanchez’ family to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP).
PACC Commissioner Manuelito Luna, in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel on Wednesday, said that he personally saw Panelo’s referral letter and that “judging from the tenor, it does not appear that [he] has endorsed to the BPP the request of Mr. Sanchez.”
“What I heard is that in the news, he did not endorse, he merely referred the said letter request of one of the children of Mr. Sanchez. That is his statement, we cannot conclude using that as a basis. However, for jurisdictional purposes, we do have jurisdiction [over Panelo] but there is no basis yet to launch any inquiry against him,” Luna said.
Luna also explained that “there is nothing wrong” with Panelo’s referral of the request of Sanchez’ family to the BPP, despite also serving as President Duterte’s chief legal counsel.
“Because we do that from time to time, especially if we do not want to entertain a matter or if it is not within our jurisdiction or there will be a delicadeza issue as in this case so I think he did the right thing, in fairness to him,” Luna added.
“He referred it. He did not act on it.”
On Tuesday, Panelo said he would file a libel complaint against online news outlets INQUIRER.net and Rappler over what he said were malicious reports on the matter.
The Palace spokesman said the news outlets reported that he “endorsed” and “recommended” the early release of Sanchez based on executive clemency, which he denied, saying he merely “referred” the letter to the BPP.
Panelo was one of the lawyers of Sanchez in 1993 when the then-mayor of Calauan, Laguna was implicated in the rape and murder of University of the Philippines – Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her schoolmate Allan Gomez.
“As I have said, it’s premature at this stage to speculate. Probably tomorrow, because we will be attending another hearing of the Blue Ribbon in the Senate. And I don’t know if he will be invited by Sen. Gordon or Sen. Sotto to shed light on this so I am keeping an open mind,” Luna said. /gsg
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