Mga Balitang Maharlika, Local at International

No order to free ex-mayor Sanchez: SC

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MANILA – There is no order to release former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez from prison, the Supreme Court (SC) clarified on Friday.

“The Supreme Court did not order the release of Mayor Sanchez in its recent decision in the consolidated cases,” SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said in a press briefing.

Hosaka said the High Court, in its June 25 ruling, merely interpreted the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10592, a law enacted by Congress in 2013 amending certain provisions of the Revised Penal Code.

The SC clarification came after reports that the ruling would prompt the release of the 73-year-old convicted rapist and murderer.

In the said ruling, the SC struck down a portion of the implementing rules and regulation of RA 10592.

The ruling basically increased the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) and other time allowances to qualified inmates.

In particular, the SC ruling struck down the IRR provision which said the law benefiting prisoners should be prospectively applied.

“Thus, the basic and common issue in the cases filed by the inmates before the Supreme Court was whether RA 10592 was to be applied prospectively or retroactively,” the SC spokesperson said.

Hosaka said the policy to increase GCTA and other time allowances to qualified prisoners did not come from the Supreme Court, but from RA 10592 which was a law enacted and passed by Congress in 2013.

“Finally, the implementation of RA 10592 is not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Like all laws, it is to be implemented and executed by the executive branch of government. Again, the judiciary merely interpreted the law and ruled that it can be applied retroactively,” Hosaka said.

Citing the suspended Heinous Crimes Act, Hosaka noted offenses “by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and perversity are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society,”

On Thursday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said certain prisoners are not entitled to GCTA benefits if they are convicted for heinous crime.

In 1995, the Pasig Regional Trial Court convicted Sanchez and sentenced him to seven counts of reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years imprisonment for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez, in 1993.

The SC upheld Sanchez’s conviction in 1999. (PNA / Benjamin Pulta)

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