An official of the University of the Philippines (UP) opposed the possible early release of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez who, earlier announcements said, may be eligible for parole next month.
A statement posted by the office of UP Student Regent John Isaac Punzalan said it condemns plans for Sanchez’s early release from prison.
“We are one with the families of the victims, the rest of the UP community, and the people in demanding full justice for Eileen and Allan and not allowing the release of the rapist and murderer Sanchez. He does not deserve the early release as evident in the violations he committed inside the prison,” the statement reads.
The former Calauan, Laguna mayor was convicted in 1995 for the abduction, rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the torture and murder of her boyfriend Allan Gomez, both UP Los Baños students as well as the earlier murder of father and son Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa in 1996.
Sanchez was sentenced with a total of nine counts of reclusion perpetua, which is equivalent to up to 40 years in prison each.
He has only served 25 years.
Sanchez’s remaining time in prison may be “recomputed” after displaying “good conduct,” an earlier government announcement said.
But the UP official said Sanchez was found to be in possession of P1.5 million worth of shabu and reported to have violated other prison regulations such as keeping a flat screen television set and an airconditioning unit while in jail.
Public outcry against Sanchez’s possible early release heightened after Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that his former client’s inclusion among the roughly 11,000 inmates to benefit from the 2013 Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law and a Supreme Court ruling that made the law retroactive is “automatic.”
Senator Ronald dela Rosa also invited widespread opposition to the planned move when he said that Sanchez “deserves a second chance.”
Seemingly reacting to the outcry, Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon, however, said Thursday that Sanchez’s early release is not yet a done deal.
The UP Student Regent’s office said Sanchez’s planned early release is proof that the justice system in the country is “rotting as ever, only seeking to side with the oppressors and those in power.”
“They’re criminalizing human rights advocates and activists but they’re letting rapists, murderers, and plunderers walk free,” the Regent’s statement says. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)