Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
DUBAI – Amid public furor over the possible release of convict Antonio Sanchez, the Philippine government said that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte is opposed to the rapist-murderer’s early release.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow the convicted rapist-murdered to be released from jail as part of a 2013 law allowing convicts with good conduct to serve shorter sentences.
“Mr. Sanchez, under Republic Act 10592 is not eligible. So the President as chief enforcer of the law will have to follow the law,” Panelo said.
The statement echoes a similar comment from Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra pointing out that the law excludes “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefit of its coverage.”
“Thus, the inevitable conclusion is that all those convicted of a heinous crime, including Mr. Antonio Sanchez, would be ineligible and disqualified from availing the benefits of the GCTA,” Panelo said.
Sanchez’s impending release from prison outraged Duterte, according to Senator Bong Go in a radio interview.
“I can’t speak in behalf of the President, but when we talked, the President got angry and he said he does not agree and cited a law, in short he doesn’t like it, he’s upset,” Go said in Filipino.
Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, was convicted of the brutal rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend Allan Gomez in June 1993.
He was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua or a total of 280 years in jail for what the court described as “plot hatched in hell”. He has since served 24 years in jail.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Panelo debunked reports that Sanchez has been in and out of jail, saying that the convicted former mayor is in a high-security prison. ICA/Expat Media
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