By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan on Friday said the reported planned release of former Caluan (Laguna) Mayor Antonio Sanchez, convicted for rape and murder of two university students, would be a mockery of justice.
“He cannot be among the first to be released (while on the last 16 years of his 40-year prison term) when there are more deserving,’’ Pangilinan, president of the opposition Liberal Party (LP), said.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri gave a ‘’No, No, No’’ reply to Senate reporters’ query whether Sanchez should be paroled.
“As a UPLB (University of the Philippines Los Banos) alumnus (like the two murder victims) I cannot sit idly and watch this happen,’’ he said.
“Let us all speak up against this injustice,’’ he added.
Sanchez’s long sentence was reported reduced, and he was set to be released for ‘’good behavior’’ while serving sentence at the Muntinlupa national penitentiary for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her boyfriend, Allan Gomez, in Laguna in 1993.
Pangilinan said he was one of the senators who signed the Senate bill that became Republic Act 10592 ‘’so we know that its intent was not to determine the fate of inmates solely on mathematical computation.’’
“Numbers, such as days of the month, should have value, as well as context in assessing good conduct. One cannot act like a saint for 20 days in a month, just because it is a requirement of law, and be like Lucifer for the rest of the month,’’ he pointed out.
“There should be an objective assessment of how the incarceration has contributed to the reformation and rehabilitation of a person,’’ he stressed.
“In the case of former Mayor Sanchez, despite the good conduct he has purportedly shown, the infractions he committed while serving should not be disregarded. His so-called reformation is doubtful,’’ he added.
While in jail, prison authorities have reportedly seized ‘’shabu’’ (crystal meth) on two occasions from Sanchez.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said that the ‘’shabu’’ seizures should disqualify Sanchez from availing of parole or pardon.