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May pag-asa pa! Drilon: Antonio Sanchez may run to SC for freedom

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There’s a possibility that former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez will be freed despite administration officials’ assurance he won’t benefit from the law adjusting inmates’ Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), Senate Minority Franklin Drilon said Monday (August 26).

Drilon said Sanchez could run to the Supreme Court to clarify the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) interpretation of Republic Act 10592.

“Kung inyong maaalala, ang unang interpretasyon kasama si Mayor Sanchez. Sa bagong interpretasyon, hindi na kasama. Kaya hindi mo mapigil si Sanchez na tumakbo sa SC at sabihin na hindi sang-ayon sa batas o ang tinatawag nating abuse of discretion o may pagkakamali sa pag-implement ng batas, kaya ang husgado ang dapat na mag-desisyon kung talagang kasama siya o hindi,” he said over dzMM radio.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua or 40-year imprisonment over the killing and rape of college student Eileen Sarmenta, as well as the murder of her companion, Allan Gomez, in 1993.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said Sanchez could be freed under RA 10592. Amid public outrage, however, he changed his tune and said the former mayor will remain behind bars.

RA 10592 excludes recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from benefiting from adjustments in the GCTA.

However, the exclusion is only applicable during preventive imprisonment or an inmate’s detention before conviction, and not during the actual imprisonment.

Drilon, an abogado, explained that while Sanchez was meted out seven terms of reclusion perpetua, the Revised Penal Code states that no one should be imprisoned for more than 40 years.

The Senate leader said he would ask the Bureau of Corrections to explain how it determined that Sanchez already served 49 years of his sentence when he was convicted in 1995.

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