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Rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez ineligible for early release – Palace

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By Prince Golez

The former defense lawyer of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the rape and murder in 1993 of University of the Philippines students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, may not qualify for early release under the new good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) rule.

Citing Republic Act (RA) 10592, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes are excluded from the coverage of this Act.

“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,” said Panelo in a statement Friday.

He added that the Palace subscribes to the opinion of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and supports his directive to the Bureau of Corrections to carefully and cautiously review the GCTA of persons who have been found guilty by the courts of having committed high profile, heinous crimes of crimes so grave that show extreme moral depravity.

“The sentiments of the people are understandable vis-à-vis the law passed by Congress during the previous administration and its recent interpretation by the Supreme Court,” according to him.

“As we have said, our task is to merely execute what the laws as they stand. We reiterate, however, that while the Executive Branch has no discretion in the implementation of the GCTA, the law still allows for the proper evaluation of inmates to ensure their proper coverage. Otherwise stated, while the Executive Branch is constrained to grant the benefit of the GCTA, it will only grant it to those who are entitled to such benefit,” he added.

Panelo also welcomed any investigation into the applicability of RA 10592 and assured the attendance of responsible officials to such inquiry to ensure the crafting of “better,” “fair,” and “morally sound” penal laws.

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