Drilon wants Senate probe into rape-slay convict Sanchez's reduced sentence

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday, August 22, filed a resolution seeking a Senate probe into the reduced sentence of Antonio Sanchez, a rape and murder convict.

Drilon filed Senate Resolution Number 106 on Thursday afternoon.

In filing the resolution, Drilon cited the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 10592, that "credit for preventive imprisonment shall not apply to an accused who has been convicted previously twice or more time of any crime."

In an interview with Bombo Radyo, Drilon, who was the justice secretary when Sanchez was convicted, said that he wanted to know how the latter became eligible for good conduct.

"Ang balita ay involved siya sa drug trade sa Muntinlupa. Paano naman nagkaroon siya ng allowance for conduct of good behavior? Ang balita pa natin ay mayroon siyang aircon sa kaniyang kulungan. Paano naman naging good conduct ito?" Drilon said.

(The news is that he is involved in the drug trade in Muntinlupa. How did he receive an allowance for conduct of good behavior? We learned that he also has an air-conditioning unit in his cell. How is this good conduct?)

He said the Senate probe would look into whether the Board of Pardons and Parole is doing its job correctly in relation to Sanchez.

Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan town in Laguna, has been in jail for 25 years for 7 terms of reclusion perpetua.

He was convicted in 1993 for the rape of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Mary Eileen Sarmenta, and found guilty for the double murder of Sarmenta and her boyfriend Alan Gomez.

Despite being sentenced to the maximum 40-year jail term, Sanchez is set to be released soon, after 25 years, because the Department of Justice (DOJ) said he had put in sufficient good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that reduced his jail term.

Sanchez supposedly benefitted from a 2013 law that provided for new guidelines on how to compute the GCTA that is the basis for reducing prison terms.

Lawmakers are split on the reduced term of Sanchez, with death penalty advocate Senator Ronald dela Rosa saying the former mayor "deserves a second chance."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Sanchez should not be released on the basis of good conduct, saying that the latter has "not indemnified" the victim's family yet. 

Sanchez's reduced sentence sparked outrage as his "good conduct" is being contested. Sanchez was caught with P1.5-million worth of shabu in his cell in 2010 and unauthorized equipment such as air-conditioning unit and a flat-screen TV in 2015.  Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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