Murder and rape convict Antonio Sanchez shows his prison cell in this February 1999 photo. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — “The law is wrong.”
This is what Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. had to say in the wake of the “possible release” of former Mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna from prison.
The former mayor was convicted for the rape and murder of university student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
“The law is wrong; the Supreme Court was wrong. He got seven life sentences. True law favoring a convict has retrospective effect on his sentence,” Locsin said over Twitter on Thursday.
“That spares him having to finish one of 7 life sentences. He has 6 to go or 200 years more. Period,” his tweet further read.
Earlier, the Bureau of Corrections and the Department of Justice said Sanchez was among the 11,000 national prisoners to be released in two months after a recomputation of their good conduct time allowance (GCTA) pursuant of Republic Act No. 10592.
The Supreme Court last June allowed the retroactive application of the law to cover inmates convicted prior to its enactment in 2013.
READ: SC rules in favor of retroactive application of prisoners’ credits
GCTA is earned as a reward for an inmate’s good behavior and deducted from the jail term that a prisoner needs to serve.
In 1995, the Pasig Regional Trial convicted Sanchez for raping Sarmenta and for killing her and Gomez in June 1993 in Laguna.
He was meted up to 280 years in prison for the said crime and was also separately sentenced to up to 80 years in jail for two other cases of murder.
READ: WHAT WENT BEFORE: ‘A plot seemingly hatched in hell’
In 1993, Sarmenta and Gomez were abducted by Sanchez’s aides, who presented the girl as a “gift” to the mayor.
Sanchez raped Sarmenta and then his aides took turns in abusing her after they shot Allan dead.
READ: Early Sanchez release sparks fear, anguish
They also later shot Sarmenta in the head with an M16 rifle.
In a later tweet, Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed with what Locsin said.
The foreign affairs chief then responded with: “Any other interpretation makes nonsense of the judicial practice of imposing multiple life sentences.”
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