By Jeffrey Damicog
Convicted rapist and murderer, former Mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, is expected to be released soon due to the re-computation of his Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.
“We don’t know how soon kay Mayor Sanchez ma-process pero ginagawa na iyan sa ngayon (We don’t know how soon it will be processed for Sanchez but it is being done now),” said Guevarra.
The Secretary explained this was due to the Supreme Court (SC) ruling issued last June over Republic Act 10592, the law which amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) regarding the deduction of prison terms.
“The GCTA re-computation was by operation of law and the result of the SC ruling last June. It did not require any application on the part of the PDLs (persons deprived of liberty),” he said.
The SC ruled that the computation should be retroactive instead of proactive as indicated in the 2014 implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Petitioners, including a group of inmates from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), sought to invalidate the IRR since it would not include the GCTAs they accumulated over the years.
“Ang result niya ay nai-increase ang GCTA. So yun ang net effect nung batas na yon (The result is an increase of the GCTA. That’s the net effect of that law)” Guevarra said.
He assured that this will not only benefit Sanchez but also thousands of other inmates.
“Ang tancha naming, (We estimate) within the next two months, thousands of persons under detention would be released because they benefit from the new law that was passed, also the ruling of the SC na retroactive ang application ng batas (that the application of the law will be proactive), he said.
Sanchez has been sentenced to reclusion perpetua of up to 40 years imprisonment for the rape and death of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Banos student Eileen Sarmenta as well as the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
Guevarra said the family of the victims cannot appeal the release of Sanchez.
“Ang pinag-uusapan lang diyan kung may civil liability na hindi pa nase-settle (What have to be determined is if there is still civil liability that has not been settled),” he indicated.
Guevarra said whatever civil liability Sanchez still has, it will not prevent him from being released.
He added that he doesn’t see any public backlash regarding RA 10592 and the SC’s ruling.
“Maganda naman ang purpose niyan (It has a good purpose),” he assured.
“Magpakita ka ng good conduct while you are in detention para mas maaga kang makalaya (Show good conduct while in detention so you would be released early),” Guevarra said.
The DOJ chief also added that this would also help decongest the overcrowded jail facilities in the country.