Iluminada Gomez, mother of murdered student Allan Gomez, speaking during a rally at UP-Los Baños in Laguna to protest the looming release of Antonio Sanchez.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Sanchez family refuses to pay victims' kin and it may be too late to make them
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - September 3, 2019 - 4:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — Elvira, the wife of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez, on Tuesday declared her family has no intention to pay P12.67 million damages to the families of her husband’s victims.

It may be too late to compel them to pay, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.

"Lagi po naming sinasabi, lagi po naming paulit-ulit sinasabi bakit po kami magbabayad? Wala namang pong kasalanan ang aking asawa," Elvira said during the second day of the hearing into her husband’s possible release.

(We always say... we repeatedly say, 'why should we pay?' My husband is innocent)

"Actually, your honor, we really don’t have any intention to pay," she added.

Supreme Court lowers damages

Judge Harriet Demetriou in 1995 sentenced Sanchez and six others to seven life terms or up to 40 years of imprisonment for the rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her boyfriend Allan Gomez in 1993.

Demetriou also ordered them to pay P5.59 million to the Sarmenta family and P5.67 million to the family of Gomez representing actual and moral damages as well as litigation fees.

In an October 2001 ruling, the Supreme Court lowered the damages, death indnemnity and litigation fees to P3.99 million for the Gomez family and P3.98 million for the Sarmenta family.

When news surfaced that the former mayor of Calauan, Laguna might be released due to Good Conduct Time Allowance, the families of the victims said they still hadn't received any payment from the Sanchez family.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who was the justice secretary during the trial of Sanchez, then called out the family for asking for pardon, executive clemency and seeking mercy while they still haven’t paid the damages of P12,671,900.

What happens if the Sanchez family doesn’t pay?

Drilon then asked Justice Secretary Guevarra for the remedy in case the Sanchezes refuse to pay what was awarded as damages in this case.

Drilon said that, as part of the prosecution body, Guevarra has control over the criminal case.

"There is a judgment by the court which has become final and executory and the proper remedy would be the issuance of writ of execution," Guevarra told Drilon during the public inquiry.

A writ of execution is defined by the law as a court order directing the authorities to “enforce, implement or satisfy the final decisions or awards.”

Drilon urge the Department of Justice to move for the issuance of a writ of execution for the Sanchez family to pay the P12.67 million damages.

Guevarra agreed saying they can do that “as a matter of justice.”

"We should take the initiate to deliver justice in this particular case because it is so unjust that here is Mayor Sanchez asking for clemency and who refuses to pay P12.6 million," Drilon said.

Too late for writ of execution?

Guevarra, however, argued that the writ of execution only applies for a prescriptive period of ten years for the execution of judgments.

It has been 26 years since the Sarmenta-Gomez case lapsed.

Guevarra said that there have been many Justice secretaries who could’ve made the same steps “because there is a prescriptive period for executive period of judgments.”

"It’s really up to the people who were handling this case long before, not now, because there is a prescriptive period to do so,” Guevarra said.

In view of this, Drilon said the DOJ should just let the court decide on the prescriptive period.

“Let the Sanchez family oppose a writ of execution, but at least to show to the people that we are consistent in our pursuit of justice,” Drilon said.

“Initiate an application for writ of execution to the court and leave it to the court, to Sanchez, to the Supreme Court to decide as to whether is valid or not," he added.
Guevarra agreed on Drilon’s suggestion.

The Justice secretary two weeks ago announced that Sanchez is one of the 11,000 convicts who could be released due to the implementation of the Good Conduct Time Allowance law.

ANTONIO SANCHEZ BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS GOOD CONDUCT TIME ALLOWANCE MENARDO GUEVARRA
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