DILG joins chorus against setting free ex-mayor Sanchez

August 24, 2019
Eduardo Año

THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has joined the opposition to the early release of convicted rapist-murderer former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez.

In supporting the Department of Justice (DOJ), Secretary Eduardo Ano said that the law is categorical in excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefits of Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA Law.

GCTA or Good Conduct Time Allowance is deducted from the total sentence of every inmate provided he shows good behavior during detention.

The DOJ said that Sanchez is ineligible for the GCTA because he is “categorically excluded to benefit under the law’s coverage.”

No less than President Duterte has also said a big “No” on the idea of having the former mayor freed early.

Reports of Sanchez’ impending release floated and immediately drew reactions of mostly anger and disapproval.

“We support DOJ’s stand on the issue as the law is categorical in excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees, and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefits of its coverage,” Ano said.

He said that by that stipulation alone, Sanchez, convicted of raping and murdering UP - Los Banos graduating student Eileen Sarmenta, and killing Allan Gomez, also a student of the university in 1993, does not stand a chance of being released anytime soon.

”Sanchez committed rape and double murder. He was responsible for the death of two bright university students. Allowing him to get out early is a mockery of the law and justice system,” the DILG chief pointed out.

During the more than two decades in detention serving his sentence, Sanchez in several instances reportedly committed violations of the law as he was caught with more than a million pesos worth of shabu and he was found staying in an air-conditioned room with a number of appliances like refrigerator among others.

“Kailangan niyang panagutan hanggang sa huling minuto ang hatol sa kanya. He must serve his entire sentence. Kapag pinalaya natin ‘yan nang maaga, we would have punctured a hole in our own justice system,” Ano said.

The DILG supervises the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), which controls all city, district, and municipal jails across the country.

Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) detained in BJMP-run facilities also benefit from the provisions of the GCTA Law.

Accurate prison records

Senator Richard Gordon on Saturday stressed that prison records should be digitalized so that there would be prompt and accurate information of the time served by a prisoner following Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) Chief Nicanor Faeldon’s earlier announcement that 1,000 inmates may be mass released in all penal colonies in the country with the implementation of Republic Act No. 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

“There shall be full automation of prison records. It is important that their time served and their good conduct time allowance are properly documented and accounted. Wala dapat dayaan dyan na kapag malakas ka sa warden, makakalibre ka” said the Senator.

Gordon also emphasized that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 10592 states that BUCOR and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) shall design computer-generated or automated template to monitor the progress of detainees or prisoners convicted by final judgment capable of incorporating time allowances that may be granted to each of them.

“Computation must be transparent so that there will be no doubts that may affect the integrity of our penal system and loss of confidence in our court system,” he added.

R.A. 10592, which amended the provisions of the Revised Penal Code on good conduct of convicted prisoners, is anchored on the premise of good behavior exhibited by the inmate, setting the standards on the number of days that can be reduced from a prisoner’s sentence for a month.

With Marlon Purificacion