By Jeffrey Damicog
“This may be a good time for the Congress to review its own creation.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said this in Thursday as he welcomed the call of some senators to conduct an inquiry into the possible early release of convicted former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.
“The conduct of a legislative inquiry is most welcome, as the people are reacting to the effects of the law that Congress itself enacted in 2013,” Guevarra told reporters.
Guevarra is referring to Republic Act 10592 which amended the Revised Penal Code (RPC) and increased the number of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) to enable inmates to be freed earlier that their prison term.
He welcomed the probe in response to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s call for a Senate inquiry into the release of Sanchez and call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) against releasing the former mayor.
Last June, the Supreme Court (SC) declared that RA 10592 which was passed in 2013 should be applied retroactively and not just prospectively since the RPC requires the retroactive application of penal laws.
As Drilon called for a Senate inquiry, the senator vowed to help the families of Sanchez’s victims to file charges against the DOJ should the former mayor get released.
But Guevarra said the DOJ has never pushed for the release of Sanchez.
“The DOJ has never insisted on the release of Mayor Sanchez and he doesn’t have to threaten this department,” Guevarra told Drilon.
Sanchez was sentenced to seven reclusion perpetua (maximum 40 years imprisonment) for the rape and death of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta as well as the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez.
Drilon was Justice secretary when Sanchez was prosecuted for his crimes.