LAWMAKERS in both chambers of Congress are bristling over the reported possible early release from prison for good behavior of convicted rapist and murderer ex-Laguna town mayor Antonio Sanchez.
In the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said he will file a resolution pushing for an investigation into the computation by the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) of the sentence of the former Calauan town executive.
“Ako po ang Secretary of Justice na nagpa-convict kay Mayor Sanchez -- 7 lives term po iyan. Ang sentensya niyan ay 40 years. Nagulat po ako noong sinabi nila na dahilan sa good conduct allowance ay pwede nang palayain. Ako po ay magpa-flile ng resolution sa Senado para imbestigahan ang Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) sa kanilang computation,” said Drilon.
“Dahilan sa ang balita ay involved siya sa drug trade sa Muntinlupa. Paano naman nakaroon 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?” he added.
Meanwhile, Senator “Ping” Lacson believes that parole for Sanchez is not yet final until it was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Hindi pa final ang parole until the President signs or approves it. If the victims’ families intend to appeal, they should address the same to the president,” Lacson explained.
“I would say, aside from legislating a maximum of only 15% reduction for Good Conduct Time while in prison, there must be offenses that should not make the convicts avail of parole or pardon such as those committed with extreme gruesomeness like terrorism, rape with homicide, and the like,” he added.
Senator Risa Hontiveros also questioned the imminent parole.
“Sanchez has shown no signs of remorse and displayed no effort at improving himself in behavior or character inside the penitentiary. In fact, even inside prison, he has continued committing crimes with impunity,” said Hontiveros.
Reaction in House
Even some members of the House of Representatives are not in favor of the early release of Sanchez.
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap sent a letter to Justice Seccretary Menardo Guevarra asking him to study carefully the decision of the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) to include Sanchez in the list of those to be granted release due to credited good conduct during imprisonment.
Yap and other members of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) like Dumper PDTA party-list Rep. Claudine Bautista are set to file a resolution blocking the release of Sanchez.
According to Yap, there is a need to review Republic Act 10592 in order to determine who are qualified to be credited with good conduct during imprisonment.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap na maisama si Mayor sa bibigyan ng good conduct, sa bigat ng kaso niya. Hindi dapat lahat ng crime pwede isama. Kung nang-rape, pumatay, siguro dapat pag-isipang mabuti ng DoJ,” Yap said.
He asked the BuCor to explain the criteria in giving inmates good conduct and qualifying them for early release.
“Sino ang nagsabi na pwede siya maka-avail ng good conduct? Dumaan ba ito sa panel? Dapat kung matagal bago makulong sa haba ng pinagdaanan sa korte, dapat mahaba din ang proseso bago palayain,” Yap said in a weekly party-list forum in the House of Representatives.
For her part, Bautista reminded the DoJ to consider the feeling of the victims’ families before making a decision on Sanchez.
“We cannot discredit the fact that the crime is heinous, it is murder and rape. The DoJ should take into consideration the families of the victims,” Bautista said as she expressed support for the resolution planned by the party-list bloc.
For his part Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin said he will file a resolution to investigate and to make sure that RA 10592 on the conditional expanded Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) is properly implemented.
Garbin said those inmates who showed good behavior can enjoy the privilege.
In the case of Sanchez, Garbin said he is unqualified and his release will cause ignominy and more suffering to the victims’ families.
With Marlon Purificacion