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Ex-mayor Sanchez ineligible for early release: Palace

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MANILA – Convicted rapist and murderer, former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, is not eligible for an earlier release from prison, Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reiterated that Sanchez is not eligible because Republic Act 10592 states that “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes” are excluded from the law’s coverage.

The law provides new guidelines on how to compute good conduct time, including a 20-day deduction for each month of good behavior during the first two years of imprisonment.

“The law is very clear. It gave four categories that cannot be covered by the expressed provision of the law kaya hindi talaga pu-puwede (that’s why he really cannot be released),” Panelo said in a television interview.

Panelo said some sectors initially floated the possibility of Sanchez’s early release because they misunderstood the provision in the law emphasizing the exemptions.

Hindi mo mapapansin hanggang hindi mo hinihimay ‘yung provision kaya (You won’t notice unless you deconstruct the provision so) everybody thought that the act applies to all inmates, ‘yun ata ang pagkakamali (that’s the mistake),” Panelo said.

He insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte would not allow Sanchez to walk free, saying the President even told Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Nicanor Faeldon not to allow the former mayor’s release.

Nakausap ko si Presidente, talagang sabi niya nga the very night na lumabas ‘yan eh tinawagan niya na si Commissioner Faeldon at sinabi niya na kaagad ang stand niya (I spoke to the President, he said the very night the news came out, he called Faeldon and told him his stand not to allow the release),” Panelo said.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former aide, also confirmed to reporters that Duterte would not allow Sanchez to be released.

Sanchez was sentenced to seven counts of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment) for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her companion, Allan Gomez in 1993.

Panelo, Sanchez’s former lawyer, earlier denied his involvement in Sanchez’s possible release, saying he withdrew as the former mayor’s lawyer in 1995.

On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said it will conduct a 10-day review period on the contentious implementing rules and regulations of the law. (PNA / Azer Parrocha)

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