ASKED to comment on the possible granting of early release to former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said that the convicted rapist and murderer is better off in jail.
“Mr Sanchez, ‘wag ka nang mangarap na makalaya pa. Ipagpatuloy mo na lang pagbayaran ang mga kasalanan mo dyan sa loob, kaysa lumabas ka, baka umikli pa ang iyong buhay,” Go said during an interview.
In 1995, Sanchez was convicted for the rape and murder of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez, both University of the Philippines Los Baños students, for which Sanchez received seven counts of reclusion perpetua (or 40 years imprisonment).
In 2013, the periods for good conduct time allowances (GCTA) were increased by virtue of the Republic Act (RA) 10592 signed by then President Benigno Aquino III. The amendment allowed for the expanded application of GCTA and resulted in the possible consideration of earlier release for prisoners, including Sanchez.
Go stressed that there is a need to study the case of Sanchez and that there should be no guarantee that he will be released. He echoed statements of Justice Secretary Meynardo Guevarra and Bureau of Corrections head Nicanor Faeldon that there should be a stringent evaluation of cases of inmates in the application of GCTA.
“Dapat araling mabuti ang kaso niya. He did not apply for executive clemency. He is one of the names in the list of 10,000 inmates who may be benefited by RA 10592. However, this is not an automatic grant but will be subject to stringent evaluation as mentioned by SOJ (Secretary of Justice) and BuCor (head) Faeldon,” he said.
Go expressed his sympathy for the families of victims of heinous crimes and reiterated that the application for GCTA must be subjected to the most rigid and careful evaluation.
“I echo the sentiments of the families of the victims. First, show proof of good behavior and that these criminals will not be a threat to society anymore before we grant anything. I believe that’s the essence of the law,” Go said.
The senator supports the reinstatement of death penalty for certain heinous crimes. He filed Senate Bill No. 207 entitled “An Act Reinstating the Death Penalty for Certain Heinous Crimes Involving Dangerous Drugs and Plunder.” The bill seeks to effectively promote peace and order in the country and support the relentless campaign of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.