By Jonathan Hicap
Former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez will be out of prison anytime soon as he has become eligible for release under a new law.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) spokesperson Sonny del Rosario told Manila Bulletin that Sanchez has already served 49 years based on the computation of his good conduct time allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act 10592, enacted in May 2013.
GCTA, according to a Department of Justice manual on RA 10592, is “a privilege granted to a PDL [persons deprived of liberty], entitling him/her to a reduction of prison term for every month of actual detention or service of sentence as a reward for good conduct and exemplary behavior.”
In a ruling last July, the Supreme Court said the law should have a retroactive application that will benefit prisoners.
Sanchez and six others were found guilty by the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 70 on March 11, 1995 for the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, students of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.
Each of the accused was sentenced by the court to suffer the maximum penalty of seven reclusion perpetua for the crime of rape with homicide.
Sanchez was arrested in 1993 and, upon conviction, he was brought to the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa in 1995. From the time of his arrest to present, Sanchez has already served 26 years in prison.
Del Rosario said their computation showed that Sanchez has already served 49 years, beyond the maximum penalty of 40 years. He did not say the date when Sanchez will be released.
During a 2015 raid at NBP conducted by BuCor, Sanchez told The Manila Bulletin that he was suffering from various ailments, including chronic renal failure, heart problem, diabetes and skin asthma.
“OK naman dito, marami lang akong sakit,” he said then.
Del Rosario added that under the new law, about 11,000 prisoners under BuCor will be released.
Under RA 10592, the allowance for good conduct for those under preventive imprisonment or convicted prisoner has been increased.
For the first two years of imprisonment, 20 days will be deducted for each month for good behavior while on the third to fifth year, 23 days for each month will be deducted.
From the sixth to the 10th year, 25 days for each month will be subtracted; and 30 days for each month from the 11th year to succeeding years.
In addition, a prisoner is entitled to another deduction of 15 days for each month of studying, teaching or mentoring service.